Critique, online stories Feb. 1-6

Best things:

Kenney and Kyle both did fine work on stories that put into historical and constitutional perspective the new presidential administration. Kenney’s story about the surging popularity of the dystopian novel 1984 did a nice job talking about the novel and its new place in pop culture lore. Kyle also did good work on sorting out President Trump’s executive orders and the precedent. These stories were both timely and meaty and allowed the writers to pursue angles that challenged them—and our readers.

Similarly, Nick’s Student Congress story on the potential move toward a three-branch government model told our readers how the plan would work and why UTA is considering it. Both pieces are important. He’s following it up this week.

Over the weekend, Sports and Multimedia turned out solid coverage of both basketball and tennis. These games are great practice for student journalists to hone their play-by-play, sports photography and deadline skills. Grab every opportunity to cover and shoot these events. If you don’t you and your skills won’t grow.

Audrey nabbed some great quotes in the story about the e-sports team Dark Blaze. “We’ve had really quiet kids just be complete monsters within the game because they’re able to make those calls ­­­— the silent but deadly type,” Smiley said.

Jamil’s speaker coverage from Friday on the Baylor anthropology professor who studies bones was fascinating. She works with law enforcement agencies to return human remains to family members. Many are immigrants who died trying to cross the border.

Needs help:

The Life story on the trend of playing Magic needed color from watching players play the game and describing it to readers. We had photos of the game being played, but the color and description were needed, too, to pull the reader in.

Several of our stories have suffered from being one-dimensional. Just because we interview what seems like “the right” people doesn’t mean that we’re asking enough questions of those people. Stories that explain something new need specifics. Stories that tell us about something obscure need to provide more detail. Don’t settle for who, what, where, when—the why and the how are necessary. Make sure your interview questions actually include why and how. If you can’t force yourself to be more curious, ask a curious friend to help you out with questions. Stories without content and deep description are merely “survey” stories. We have the talent to do better than that

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