Examples of Good Writing

The deadliest flower in the insect world is a lifeline to farmers—and the planet

(From National Geographic)

The yellow center of the ‘killer chrysanthemum’ contains a natural toxin that is a powerful insecticide.PHOTOGRAPHS BYVITO FUSCOBYJACOB KUSHNERPUBLISHED AUGUST 4, 2021• 15 MIN READ

GILGIL, KENYAThe deadliest flower in the insect world is soft to the touch. Each morning in the hills above Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, the white petals of the pyrethrum plant become laden with dew. To the people who pick them, the flower is utterly harmless. But bugs beware: Its yellow center contains a natural toxin that can kill them in seconds.

Discovered in Persia around 400 B.C., the flower produces an active ingredient, pyrethrin, that can be extracted and used to create natural insecticides that farmers spray on crops to protect them from mites, ants, and aphids without harming anyone’s health. Herders rub pyrethrin ointments on their cattle to repel flies and ticks.

In its most common applications, pyrethrin paralyzes pests by attacking their central nervous systems. “If you spray an insect with pyrethrum, for the first 30 seconds it goes mental, incredibly hyperactive, then it falls to the floor,” explains Ian Shaw, managing director of the pyrethrum producer Kapi Limited.

Simply growingChrysanthemum cinerariifolium near your home may be enough to repel parasite-carrying sand flies, whose bite can spread the skin disease leishmaniasis, which affects nearly one million people globally, including many throughout Kenya. The resulting rash can eat away at people’s faces and become fatal if left untreated.

Pyrethrin has also become a powerful tool in the global fight against mosquito-borne diseases like malaria, a parasite that sickens more than a million people and kills more than 400,000 each year, many of them in Kenya. Manufactured in spiral-shaped discs known as mosquito coils, they emit a shroud of smoke like incense that repels mosquitoes but is harmless to humans.

part of the pyrethrum nursery

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From ESPN https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/32489351/rb-mark-ingram-traded-houston-texans-reuniting-new-orleans-saints

METAIRIE, La. — The New Orleans Saints have reunited their dynamic running back duo of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram by acquiring Ingram in a trade with the Houston Texans, sources confirmed to ESPN.

The deal includes a swap of late-round picks, the source said. NFL Network first reported the trade, the second in two months between the Saints and Texans after New Orleans acquired veteran cornerback Bradley Roby in Week 1.

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Writing Exercise

Exercise

You will not be graded on this exercise. This is for you to practice the craft of writing.

NORTH PORT, FL — With a forensic anthropologist analyzing Brian Laundrie’s remains, Steven Bertolino, the Laundrie family’s attorney, told Fox News Wednesday that autopsy results, including the cause and time of his death, aren’t expected for another two to three weeks.

Laundrie, a person of interest in the strangulation death of his fiancée, Gabby Petito, left his North Port home Sept. 13 — two days after she was officially reported missing — and hasn’t been seen since.

(From The Patch)

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has a double-digit lead over Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli in the fight for New Jersey governor that ends with next week’s election, according to the latest poll of the race.

Murphy is ahead of Ciattarelli by 11 percentage points among registered voters, according to the Monmouth University Poll released Wednesday. It showed the governor with 50% support compared to his rival’s 39%.

(From New Jersey.com)


In a major win for climate advocates and supporters of wind and solar energy, New York State environmental regulators refused on Wednesday to allow two companies to upgrade their gas-fueled power plants — signaling a newly aggressive approach to ending fossil-fuel emissions that drive climate change.

With the decision — and a strong, immediate statement of support from Gov. Kathy Hochul — the officials took a clear and potentially influential position on a longstanding question that is at the center of national and global debates on renewable energy.

(New York Times)

A shootout at a popular outdoor restaurant in the trendy resort of Tulum that killed two foreign tourists and wounded three more ripped through the Caribbean town’s laid-back vibe and shocked many who’d considered the region an oasis immune to Mexico’s insecurity. 

But the October 20 killings revealed the dark underbelly of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, one that tourism officials along the vacation corridor have struggled to hide. Over the past decade criminal organizations—including some of the country’s most notorious drug cartels—have established lucrative extortion and local drug peddling rackets that are leading to open conflict.

(Vice)

Mayor de Blasio News Conference

October 14, 2021

From the New York Daily News

By DAVE GOLDINER and MICHAEL GARTLAND

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |OCT 13, 2021 AT 4:50 PM

An obscure city panel may vote to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson from its place in the City Council chambers amid controversy over the Founding Father’s history as a slaveholder.

The city Public Design Commission will decide Monday whether to loan the statue to the City Historical Society, effectively ending its nearly two-century run in one of Gotham’s most revered spots.

Statue of Thomas Jefferson in City Council Chambers in Manhattan, New York.
Statue of Thomas Jefferson in City Council Chambers in Manhattan, New York. (Bryan Smith for New York Daily News)

The “long-term loan” of the statue is listed as a so-called consent item, meaning the 11-member committee of architecture and museum notables will vote up or down after reviewing any public comments submitted virtually.

“The individuals memorialized within the confines of our People’s House be reflective not only of the best traditions of our city’s history and its diversity but unquestionable character,” the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus said in a statement.

New York City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) disagreed with removing one of the nation’s Founding Fathers from the chambers.

“This is more progressive war on history,” said the Staten Island rep. “Why wasn’t this put on the consent calendar? I thought we were having this big public discussion about monuments. Apparently not.”

City Council Speaker Cory Johnson and four other council members signed a letter to Mayor de Blasio in 2020 asking for the Jefferson statue to be removed. They acted soon after the police killing of George Floyd, which sparked nationwide protests for racial justice.

The 1833 cast-iron statue was created by Pierre-Jean David and was donated to the city a year later by Jefferson admirer and Navy commandant Uriah Phillips Levy.

The statue first came under fire in 2001 when firebrand then-Councilmember Charles Barron (D-Brooklyn) called for it to be replaced with an image of Malcolm X.

Its removal from the place of honor in the City Council chambers would mark another milestone in the campaign to reassess public monuments and memorials dedicated to historical figures with decidedly controversial histories.

Most of the movement’s energy has focused on removing statues of Confederate officials and generals. But many activists say America should also take another look at honors for Founding Fathers, who also owned slaves and held opinions that would be considered virulently racist in modern times.

Traditionalists counter that removing statues of any historic figure with a checkered past amounts to sanitizing history.Dave GoldinerNew York Daily NewsCONTACT 


Dave Goldiner is a political reporter at the New York Daily News. A 30-year newsroom veteran, he believes he is the only reporter to cover both the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the death and funeral of South African freedom icon Nelson Mandela on the ground.Michael GartlandNew York Daily NewsCONTACT 


Michael Gartland covers the New York City Housing Authority, housing and homelessness. During his 20-year career, he’s covered politics, crime and religion for The Record in NJ, The Post and Courier in SC and Newsday, among others. His work has earned local and national journalism awards. He lives in Upper Manhattan with his wife and two children.

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 contemporary example of what Orwell talked about from former Rochester Police Chief La’Ron D. Singletary.

La'Ron Singletary Twitter Account

“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 based on facts, and is not what I stand for.”

How can he say the same thing simply and directly? 

I have integrity and won’t put up with people who want to destroy my character.  Critics distorted what I said and did after I learned about Mr. Prude’s death. Their comments do not reflect who I am.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell talking about his expectations for the Republicans in the midterm-elections.

Mitch McConnell interviewed by NBC

“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different — they’re statewide, candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”

How can he say the same thing simply and directly? 

I think Republicans will flip the House but not the Senate. Some of the candidates don’t have broad appeal and won’t do well  in state-wide races.

Then there is outright political doublespeak that George Orwell wrote about. Here are examples from Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Vladimir Putin

Putin often uses words to mean exactly the opposite of what they really mean.

He labels acts of war “peacekeeping duties.”

He claims that Russian troops want the “denazification” of Ukraine but he is attempting to overthrow or even kill Ukraine’s Jewish president, who is the grandson of a Holocaust survivor.

We want to make sure that we do not manipulate words or distort meaning and language.

Journalists want to write and speak truthfully and clearly. 

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

H.R. Mc Master

twisted a sentence when he defended former President Trump’s discussion with Russian diplomats.

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

Or he could say,

President Trump did not discuss intelligence sources or methods, nor did he disclose secret military operations.

Note that McMaster used  the word “were.” The passive verb were makes a sentence fuzzy, or clunky. 

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

Passive Sentence

The hardest hit baseball in recorded history, 122.4 mph,

was hit by Pittsburgh Pirate’s Oneil Cruz.  

Active Sentence

Pittsburgh Pirate Oneil Cruz blasted a ball 122.4 mph, the fastest in baseball history.

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.

That brings us back to were and the to be verbs.  They don’t  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 cause of 130 fires so far in 2022 was lithium-ion scooter batteries. 

Active 

Lithium-ion scooter batters caused 130 fires so far in 2022. 

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.

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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

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

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.