Active Writing Exercise

Active Writing Exercise

This is not a quiz. You will not be graded. Do your best

  1. This paragraph is from the Daily News.  Use the active voice to make it better. You can break it up into more than one or two sentences.

The Empire State is one step closer to approving adult use marijuana after Gov. Cuomo released an amended version of his pot proposal Tuesday that would reduce criminal penalties for illegal sales, outlines how some of the tax revenue would be spent and allows for the delivery of cannabis products.

  •   This is from Vice. Use the active voice to make it better.

         At least 2.3 million women have been forced from the workforce during the pandemic, many due to closed schools and a lack of child care.

So after one Ohio mother was arrested on charges of child endangerment for allegedly leaving her young kids in a motel room while she tried to go to her job at Little Caesars, sympathetic people rallied to support her.

  •  This is from me.  Take out the clunky words and phrases and use the active voice to explain the problem.

Currently my boss won’t give me the extra money he promised and I really need the money and the job due to COVID and due to the fact that there are so few jobs available.

  • From the New York Post. Use the active voice and rewrite the story.

      Ryan Leaf is calling for the NFL to do more for retired players in the wake of Vincent Jackson’s death.

Jackson, 38, was found dead in a Florida hotel room by a housekeeper on Monday morning. There were no apparent signs of trauma, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Police are investigating and a cause of death has yet to be determined by the county medical examiner.

  • This is from the New York Times. Use the active voice to rewrite it.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Admitting a degree of fault for the first time, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said on Monday that his administration’s lack of transparency about the scope of coronavirus-related deaths in nursing homes in New York was a mistake.

Active Writing

New York City Hall and a news conference in front of the steps.

Barbara Nevins Taylor

ACTIVE WRITING

Active writing allows you to say what you mean in a clear concise way with colorful verbs that paint a picture.

In 1946, the writer George Orwell, author of Animal Farm and 1984,  complained about politicians and others who use fuzzy language to hide the truth.

George Orwell.png

“Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one’s own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase — some jackboot, Achilles’ heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse — into the dustbin where it belongs,” Orwell wrote.

In his 1946 essay Politics and the English Language set out six rules for clear writing.  “Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print; Never use a long word where a short one will do; If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out; Never use the passive where you can use the active; Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent; Break any of these rules sooner than say anything barbarous.” – George Orwell

Here’s a recent of example of what Orwell talked about.

“As a man of integrity, I will not sit idly by while outside entities attempt to destroy my character.”

“The mischaracterizations and the politicization of the actions that I took after being informed of Mr. Prude’s death is not base on facts, and is not what I stand for.

Former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron D. Singletary.

How do we write a clear, direct sentence?

We make sure the subject does the action.

What does that mean?

Put the subject before the verb and the object.

Active sentence: Subject-Verb-Object

The verb determines action

Former National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster defends President Trump’s discussion with Russian diplomats.

Not So Good

“At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

Good

National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster defended President Trump and denied he leaked classified information to the Russians.

Not So Good

Allegations that President Trump revealed classified information to the Russians were denied by National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster.

Passive Verbs Drag Down A Sentence

You create a passive verb when you make the subject the object of the action.

Passive Sentence

In the first inning, the three strikeouts were thrown by Mets pitcher Rick Porcello.

Active Sentence

Mets pitcher Rick Porcello threw three  strikeouts in the first inning.

Colorful verbs that tell a story and convey action create strong sentences.

Weak passive verbs make mushy sentences. You want to use action-filled verbs.

The verb to be does not convey action.

So we try avoid using: to be, am, is, are, was, were, being, been

EXAMPLES:

1.

Passive
The roads were destroyed by heavy rains.

Heavy rains were responsible for the destruction of the roads.

Active

Heavy rains destroyed the roads.

2.

Passive

The goalie crouched low, reached out his stick, and sent the rebound away from the mouth of the net.

Active

The goalie swept out his stick, and hooked the rebound away from the mouth of the net.

3.

Passive 

The three-pointer was shot  by the Toronto Raptor’s Fred VanVleet in the game against the Boston Celtics.

Active 

The Toronto Raptor’s Fred VanVleet shot the three-pointer in the game against the Boston Celtics.

4.

Passive

The legislation was sent to Congress by the president.

Active

The president sent the legislation to Congress.

or 

The president sent Congress the legislation.

5.

Passive

The earthquake in Puerto Rico caused victims to be airlifted by helicopter to the hospital.

Active

A helicopter airlifted victims of the earthquake in Puerto Rico and rushed them to the hospital.

or

A helicopter airlifted earthquake victims and rushed them to the hospital.

6.

Passive 

Carolina is responsible for monitoring and balancing the budgets for the journalists.

Carolina monitors and balances the budgets

or

Carolina monitors and balances budgets.

Use the passive voice when you want to emphasize the receiver of an action, not the actor.

Example:

Many Long Beach residents were forced to leave the beautiful beach area to escape the hurricane.

Use strong, colorful verbs

Example:

Violate instead of in violation

Resisted instead of was resistant

Avoid Passive Phrases Like These:

Have been

Had been passive

GERUNDS

A gerund acts like a verb and a noun. You form a gerund by adding –ing to the end of a verb:

Examples:

run, running
play, playing

A gerund describes action or a state of being.
Grammarians consider gerunds a lovely way to write.

But in ACTIVE writing a gerund can slow down a sentence.

Examples:

1.

The Mets are feeling like losers at this point in the season.

Better

The Mets feel like losers at this point in the season.

2.

Fans are wondering if the Jets will be losing games all season.

Better

Fans wonder if the Jets will lose games all season.

3.

Nets players are surprising their new coach with their driving ambition.

Better

Nets players surprised their new coach with their drive and ambition.

4.

We sat up all night reading.

Better

We read all night.

or

We sat up and read all  night.

6.

I like to go jeeping in the woods.

Better

I live to ride my jeep in the woods.

But gerunds can work when you talk about continuous action.

Example:

You might tell someone:

We jumped over puddles last night.

But if it continued to rain:

We spent the week jumping over puddles because of the constant rain.

CLUNKY WORDS AND PHRASES

 Some words and phrases make sentences fuzzy. 

Currently
Due to
Prior to
In an effort to
For the purpose of
In order to
Is of the opinion that
Due to the fact that
In the near future
At this point in time
During my time
Subsequent
Affinity For
Am Willing

The English-Zone.com created this excellent chart.

PRESENT PERFECT, PAST PERFECT and FUTURE PERFECT
Passive form:
have/has been + past participle
had been + past participle
Active: Present Perfect
I have mailed the gift.
Jack has mailed the gifts.
Passive: Present Perfect
The gift has been mailed by me.
The gifts have been mailed by Jack.
Active: Past Perfect
Steven Spielberg had directed the movie.
Penny Marshall had directed those movies.
Passive: Past Perfect
The movie had been directed by Steven Spielberg.
The movies had been directed by Penny Marshall.
Active: Future Perfect
John will have finished the project next month.
They will have finished the projects before then.
Passive: Future Perfect
The project will have been finished by next month.
The projects will have been finished before then.
FUTURE TENSES
Passive forms: will + be + past participle
is/are going to be + past participle
Active: Future with WILL
I will mail the gift.
Jack will mail the gifts.
Passive: Future with WILL
The gift will be mailed by me.
The gifts will be mailed by Jack.
Active: Future with GOING TO
I am going to make the cake.
Sue is going to make two cakes.
Passive: Future with GOING TO
The cake is going to be made by me.
Two cakes are going to be made by Sue.
PRESENT / FUTURE MODALS
The passive form follows this pattern:
modal + be + past participle
Active: WILL / WON’T (WILL NOT)
Sharon will invite Tom to the party.
Sharon won’t invite Jeff to the party.
(Sharon will not invite Jeff to the party.)
Passive: WILL / WON’T (WILL NOT)
Tom will be invited to the party by Sharon.
Jeff won’t be invited to the party by Sharon.
(Jeff will not be invited to the party by Sharon.)
Active: CAN / CAN’T (CAN NOT)
Mai can foretell the future.
Terry can’t foretell the future.
(Terry can not foretell the future.)
Passive: CAN / CAN’T (CAN NOT)
The future can be foretold by Mai.
The future can’t be foretold by Terry.
(The future can not be foretold by Terry.)
Active: MAY / MAY NOT
Her company may give Katya a new office.
The lazy students may not do the homework.
MIGHT / MIGHT NOT
Her company might give Katya a new office.
The lazy students might not do the homework.
Passive: MAY / MAY NOT
Katya may be given a new office by her company.
The homework may not be done by the lazy students.
MIGHT / MIGHT NOT
Katya might be given a new office by her company.
The homework might not be done by the lazy students.
Active: SHOULD / SHOULDN’T
Students should memorize English verbs.
Children shouldn’t smoke cigarettes.
Passive: SHOULD / SHOULDN’T
English verbs should be memorized  by students.
Cigarettes shouldn’t be smoked  by children.
Active: OUGHT TO
Students ought to learn English verbs.
(negative ought to is rarely used)
Passive: OUGHT TO
English verbs ought to be memorized by students.
Active: HAD BETTER / HAD BETTER NOT
Students had better practice English every day.
Children had better not drink whiskey.
Passive: HAD BETTER / HAD BETTER NOT
English had better be practiced every day by students.
Whiskey had better not be drunk by children.
Active: MUST / MUST NOT
Tourists must apply for a passport to travel abroad.
Customers must not use that door.
Passive: MUST / MUST NOT
A passport to travel abroad must be applied for.
That door must not be used by customers.
Active: HAS TO / HAVE TO
She has to practice English every day.
Sara and Miho have to wash the dishes every day.
DOESN’T HAVE TO/ DON’T HAVE TO
Maria doesn’t have to clean her bedroom every day.
The children don’t have to clean their bedrooms every day.
Passive: HAS TO / HAVE TO
English has to be practiced every day.
The dishes have to be washed by them every day.
DOESN’T HAVE TO/ DON’T HAVE TO
Her bedroom doesn’t have to be cleaned every day.
Their bedrooms don’t have to be cleaned every day.
Active: BE SUPPOSED TO
I am supposed to type the composition.
I am not supposed to copy the stories in the book.
Janet is supposed to clean the living room.
She isn’t supposed to eat candy and gum.
They are supposed to make dinner for the family.
They aren’t supposed to make dessert.
Passive: BE SUPPOSED TO
The composition is supposed to be typed by me.
The stories in the book are not supposed to be copied.
The living room is supposed to be cleaned by Janet.
Candy and gum aren’t supposed to be eaten by her.
Dinner for the family is supposed to be made by them.
Dessert isn’t supposed to be made by them.
PAST MODALS
The past passive form follows this pattern:
modal + have been + past participle
Active: SHOULD HAVE / SHOULDN’T HAVE
The students should have learned the verbs.
The children shouldn’t have broken the window.
Passive: SHOULD HAVE / SHOULDN’T HAVE
The verbs should have been learned by the students.
The window shouldn’t have been broken by the children.
Active: OUGHT TO
Students ought to have learned the verbs.
(negative ought to is rarely used)
Passive: OUGHT TO
The verbs ought to have been learned by the students.
Active: BE SUPPOSED TO (past time)
I was supposed to type the composition.
I wasn’t supposed to copy the story in the book.
Janet was supposed to clean the living room.
She wasn’t supposed to eat candy and gum.
Frank and Jane were supposed to make dinner.
They weren’t supposed to make dessert.
Passive: BE SUPPOSED TO (past time)
The composition was supposed to be typed  by me.
The story in the book wasn’t supposed to be copied.
The living room was supposed to be cleaned by Janet.
Candy and gum weren’t supposed to be eaten by her.
Dinner was supposed to be made by them.
Dessert wasn’t supposed to be made by them.
Active: MAY / MAY NOT
That firm may have offered Katya a new job.
The students may not have written the paper.
MIGHT / MIGHT NOT
That firm might have offered Katya a new job.
The students might not have written the paper.
Passive: MAY / MAY NOT
Katya may have been offered a new job by that firm.
The paper may not have been written by the students.
MIGHT / MIGHT NOT
Katya might have been offered a new job by that firm.
The paper might not have been written by the students.

Previous Page -English-Zone.Com Main Page-

                 

Assignment for September 9, 2021

Find two examples of a news story written in the inverted  pyramid style. And two examples written the opposite way with a small detail first.

If you need a refresher look at https://ccnyintroductiontojournalism.com/2021/08/31/reporting-basics-2/


Review the Who,  What, When, Where, Why and How and look at the inverted pyramid and the pyramid.

Just bring these to class and we’ll look at them together. 
Here’s the link for the class and if it’s too confusing, we’ll go back to using the recurring meeting link.

Topic: Introduction to Journalism Time: Sep 9, 2021 02:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting

https://ccny.zoom.us/j/88263678291

Reporting Basics

 

Reporting 

Journalism means more than taking handouts or reporting what’s said in news releases. Good journalism rests on a set of principles. Solid stories require accurate information and balance in reporting it.

Think about answering a story’s basic questions:

  • who
  • what
  • when
  • where
  • why

 

HOW

Then examine how the story happened.

How do we connect the dots to tell a good story with a beginning, middle and end?

The inverted pyramid.

Traditionally journalists use the model of the inverted pyramid construct a story.Inverted Pyramid

 

But increasingly, news organizations encourage reporters to use better storytelling techniques, using characters and interesting details to get the reader, viewer or listener interested. Television stories often start with small details, or personal stories and we see that more and more in print, digital and radio.

pyramid
pyramid

Accuracy

Only report what you know was said, and by whom.  This means attributing statements to specific people:

  1. The mayor says…
  2. The district attorney says…
  3. The neighbor says…
  4. According to the Associated Press…
  5. According to The New York Times…
  6. According to the website….

 

Wikipedia

Wikipedia and many other websites aren’t always reliable sources.  If a site quotes another source, it’s important to go to the primary source to make sure that you have accurate information.

Just because somebody says something doesn’t mean it’s true.  Even high-ranking public officials may be misinformed, or may have an agenda that obscures the truth.  Even when you’re under deadline pressure, try to confirm everything that you’re told with additional sources.  It’s a good idea to have at least two sources.  Remember:  truth is an absolute defense against libel.

 

Elements of a Good Story

Ancient Greek writers developed a basic storytelling formula and they understood the importance of characters:

  • villains
  • victims
  • heroes

You’ll find victims, villains and heroes at the center of every good drama.  Audiences recognize the victim’s pain, hiss at the villain, and cheer for the hero. Most of what we cover will not be as dramatic as a classic Greek tale, and news coverage demands that we balance two sides of a story. Until the jury returns a guilty verdict, it’s unfair to characterize the accused as a villain. But if the actions of the accused are villainous, you report the facts and the audience, like the jury decides.

Highlight Characters

In daily news reporting, we don’t always have the luxury of a developing a story around a character. We do have to report the facts. But where we can, we want to highlight characters.

Often they reveal themselves in what they say, how they act, and through the expressions on their faces.

Readers, viewers and listeners want to engage with the real drama in real people’s lives. We feel their pain, their anger, their frustration and their triumph. We cheer them, get angry, or feel their pain. We’re indignant or inspired.

Characters drive stories and make them memorable.

Organization

Whether you begin with just the facts, an engaging character or an interesting detail, you   need to let your reader, viewer or listener in on the point of the story pretty quickly.

Journalism uses the nut graf , or paragraph, to explain the heart of the story. The nut graf should come pretty close to the top of the report. It helps to tie everything together.  It helps you keep the focus and continue to the ideas in your story.

Once you explain the point of the story, you can move on flesh it out with facts and details.

 

 

Finding Data

Data graphic

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data-neighborhoods.page

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data.page#showdiag1

https://www.statista.com/page/covid-19-coronavirus

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/nyregion/new-york-city-coronavirus-cases.html

Johns Hopkins University

https://communityprofiles.planning.nyc.gov/

New York State Covid-19 Tracker

Covid-19 Modeling University of Washington

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/data/tools.pagehttps://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/data/tools.page

911 Response Time

Nassau County Health Data

Suffolk County Health Data Questionnaires

https://www.statista.com/statistics/264810/number-of-monthly-active-facebook-users-worldwide/

HPD Violation look up

Construction accident look up

https://marketingplatform.google.com/about/data-studio/

Data & Statistics

Internships 2021

Some employers use Handshake to list their internships. Check it out.

Others use LinkedIn and it’s worth checking that too.

Internships

 Updated March 2021

wabctv-internships@abc.com 

ABC News Nightline 

Good Morning America Internship

ABC Internships

CBSNEWS / Viacom

NBCUNI

CBS Corporation Internships

Fox News Internships

Fox5 My 9 Internships

Time Warner, HBO, CNN, Warner Brothers Internships

Vice

Spectrum News NY1

News 12 Bronx

News 12 Brooklyn

News 12 Long Island

News 12 Westchester

New York Times Internships

Telemomundo 47

Univision 41

Huntspoint Express

Mott Haven Herald

Queens Daily Eagle

WNET-Channel Thirteen

WNYC  

NPR

BronxNet

The Guardian

New York Post

New York Daily News

Democracy Now

Writing Dates and Time and Word Usage

From the Associated Press:

Time:
Time: Use lowercase a.m. and p.m., with periods. Always use figures, with a space between the time and the a.m. or p.m.: “By 6:30 a.m. she was long gone.”

Dates:

Always use numerals: April 23, 2020. Do not use th, nd, rd, st.

From Reuters Titles: 

Capitalise an official’s title, or a former official’s title e.g. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former U.S. President George Bush, deposed King Constantine, Attorney General-designate Griffin B. Bell, Acting Mayor Peter Barry.

Honourific or courtesy titles such as Professor, Dean, Mayor, Ambassador and the like are capped when used before a name (e.g., Professor Harold Bloom). In the US, the wife of the president is known as the first lady (no caps). Abbreviate Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr, and only use Mr, Mrs, Ms in quoted material. When necessary to distinguish between two people who use the same last name, as in married couples or brothers or sisters, use the first and last name.

Avoid putting long titles, such as “Professor of Art History” or “Ambassador to the Bahamas” in front of a name, instead writing, “Leo Steinberg, professor of art history,” with the title lowercased. Reserve “Dr” for medical doctors only.

Junior, Senior – If the source insists on the preference, then abbreviate as Jr. and Sr. only with full names of persons. Do not precede by a comma: Martin Luther King Jr.

Use titles of nobility and military, medical and religious titles on first reference only: Lord Ferrars, the Rev Jesse Jackson. Except for obvious cases, e.g., a king or queen, avoid foreign honourifics as it is difficult to be consistent through various cultures. In general it is better to describe people by their job title or position. See military titles.

In most cases it is not necessary to distinguish between assistant, associate or full professors in Reuters stories. Adjunct professors or adjunct instructors are freelancers hired by a college or university, though they may have permanent or semi-permanent status. Depending on the context, it may be germane to note a professor or instructor’s adjunct status.

Hyphenate titles when the first word is a preposition, e.g., under-secretary, vice-admiral, or when a noun is followed by an adjective, e.g., attorney-general. (However, official U.S. titles are not hyphenated, e.g., the U.S. Attorney General.) Do not hyphenate when the noun follows the adjective, e.g., second lieutenant.

Use quote marks for the titles of films, plays and books, but not newspapers or magazines. On their capitalisation, see publications.

Government programmes, campaigns, etc., do not take quotes (Operation Iraqi Freedom). Not every name bears citing: An ad campaign called Latinos for Healthcare to drum up Latino enrollment in Obamacare may not be worth it; Swiftboat Veterans for Truth Against John Kerry may be.

 

WORD USAGE 

transgender

An umbrella adjective to describe people whose gender identity or expression differs from the sex assigned at birth. A transgender man is somebody who was assigned female at birth and lives as a male. A transgender woman was assigned male at birth and lives as a female. Do not use transgender as a noun; no one should be referred to as “a transgender.”

Always use a transgender person’s chosen name. Do not use the word “chosen” to describe a person’s gender identity; do not write “a person’s chosen gender identity.”

We typically only mention that a person is transgender if it is relevant to the story. For example, no need to describe one of three victims of a random car crash as a transgender person.

If you are not sure which gender pronoun to use, ask. If you can’t ask, then use the one that is consistent with the way a person presents himself or herself. In some situations confusion may be avoided by not using pronouns. Do not use transgendered.transpired

transsexual

The terms transsexual man or transsexual woman should be avoided as they are considered outdated. Unless a person specifically requests to be identified that way, use transgender instead. See transgender.

transvestite

This term is widely regarded as pejorative and should be avoided. Use a simple description or explanation of how the person prefers to be described, e.g., “Award-winning potter Grayson Perry, who frequently dresses as a woman and calls himself Claire…” See transgender.

Twitter, tweet

The microblogging platform and website is Twitter with initial capital letter. The verb is to tweet, tweeted etc, no capital letter. The noun is a tweet meaning a message on Twitter. Use @handle or #hashtag to cite Twitter as a source. But see the Sourcing section of the Handbook for sourcing from Twitter. [[2]]

How to Write A Pitch

Outdoor Restaurant on Corneila Street

A pitch describes the story you want to tell. You need to write a short paragraph that gets attention and explains what you plan to do. So avoid writing, “I want to do a story about outdoor dining in New York City,” because that’s not a story.  It’s a general idea. You want to look for an angle.

Your outdoor dining pitch might read like this:

Outdoor dining changed the look of many New York streets and saved over 10,000 restaurants, but what happens when it gets colder and winter sets in? I’ll visit a neighborhood with a number of outdoor restaurants and talk to two owners about their plans. I’ll also talk to customers to find out whether they will feel comfortable eating outside in frigid weather.

Or

Outdoor dining changed the look of many New York streets and saved a lot of restaurants, but what happens when the pandemic ends? Danny Meyer of the Union Square Hospitality Group agreed to talk us. He is a spokesman for the industry and can give us insight into what may happen. He said we can talk to his customers, if they want to talk to us.

I’ll also talk to the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs to find out what the city plans to do and I’ll talk to Nevah Assang, New York and Company’s senior V.P. for community relations, about how the tourism industry sees the future.

I’ll take photos of restaurants in a variety of neighborhoods and talk to customers.

Assignment given February 4, 2021

Due: Tuesday, February 9 at 5 p.m.

Read, watch and listen to the news.

Check the AP app. It will help you with the weekly news quiz.

Write a 300-word essay to answer the following questions:

Who am I?

Where am I from?

Where am I going?

Include a selfie or photo to illustrate your About Me.

Deadline: Tuesday, February 9 at 5 p.m.

Find out and write down the names of your city council member, assembly member, state senator, mayor, county executive, U.S. senators, U.S. representative, the police commissioner.

Find out the number of New York City council members and U.S. representatives to Congress. How many representatives does New York State have? New York City?

Bring the information to class.