Punctuation Update

Quotation marks in a bubble

Dateline

For example:

NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) –
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, Sept 12 (Reuters) –

Put your byline underneath

by Chris Valentin

Quotation Marks

Periods, commas, question marks and exclamation points go inside the quotation marks.

Example:

Billy Collins stood in line to vote and looked up when someone asked why he came out to vote early, “I haven’t voted in 30 years and now I’m here.” he said.

 

Use a comma before the quotation.

Example:

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell warned residents about the dangerous hurricane heading their way. She said, “This is not a drill.”

The first letter of the first word in a quote is capitalized.

Example:

N.B.A. star LeBron James and other prominent black athletes and entertainers started a group aimed at protecting African American voting rights and encouraging people to vote.

“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” Mr. James said. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.”

Write out percent.

Put Links Under Facts or for Attribution.

Example: 

It is difficult to tease apart the reasons that the virus ebbs and flows in this way, and harder still to predict the future.

But as winter looms, there are real reasons for optimism. Nearly 70 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, and many children under 12 are likely to be eligible for their shots in a matter of weeks. Federal regulators could soon authorize the first antiviral pill for Covid-19.

“We are definitely, without a doubt, hands-down in a better place this year than we were last year,” said Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, director of the Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research at Boston University.

Attribution

A 14-year-old boy was grazed in the head Thursday by a bullet as he stepped off an MTA bus in Harlem, officials said.

The teen was exiting the M1 bus on E. 139th St. near Fifth Ave. when shots rang out just before 10 a.m., cops said.

Dashes Between Words

Compound words  use dashes when the two words used together and  express a specific concept. Often they are adjectives before the noun they describe. 

Example: 

The hard-hit neighborhood in Brooklyn hopes to find an investor. 

It became cost-effective to shop at the neighborhood grocery story. 

Quinceañera is a coming-of-age celebration.

Use hyphens to separate the numbers and words if the phrase is an adjective.

Dawn is 17-years-old.

The girl was 17 

Exercise: 

Kyrie Irving has finally opened up to the public about his future in the league and why he’s not vaccinated.

In an Instagram Live, Irving disclosed not only did he have no plans to retire from the game, but also that his vaccination status has nothing to do with the Nets or the 

Punctuate: Don’t believe I’m retiring, don’t believe I’m gonna give up this game for a vaccine mandate the Nets star said Wednesday night All these people saying all these things about what’s going on with me and it’s just not true.
Punctuate: 

I certainly think in a lot of instances we’ve gotta be a phasing out these zoos — definitely the circuses and the rodeos and all that because of the barbaric behavior, the inhumane behavior towards the animals he said. Eventually we’re going to have to start phasing out zoos, or at least some of the animals that are housed in zoos

Sliwa, who’s facing Democratic nominee Eric Adams and is considered a long shot in the race, conceded he’s not an expert on the subject, but added that he’d look at the issue on a “case-by-case” basis if elected mayor.

 

Our Style Guide

Pen Susan McQuaid, Courtesy Pixabay
  1. Write your slug- the shorthand for your story at the top.
  2. Put your name and your contact information underneath.
  3. Give us a working title for your story.
  4. Then put your byline, by Alpha Romeo.
  5. Write all your copy flush left.
  6. Leave two spaces between paragraphs.
  7. Spell out numbers one through nine. Use numerics for 10 and up.
  8. Write percent instead of %.
  9. COVID is all caps. We follow the AP style.
  10. Give us a dateline rather than inserting a date at the top of your story.
  11. Dateline: Here’s what the AP says about datelines:

Datelines should convey the spirit of the reporting; they are not restricted to cities and towns. Census-designated places, townships, parks, counties, or datelines such as ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE or ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER may be used if appropriate. But do not designate neighborhoods or other places within a better-known jurisdiction as the dateline. For instance, NEW YORK should be the dateline, not BROOKLYN or CENTRAL PARK.For bylined stories, a reporter must be reporting from the dateline on the story. When there are multiple bylines, at least one reporter must have been at the scene, and a note at the end of the story should explain the locations of all bylined reporters. If the story has no dateline, no note is needed at the end of the story explaining the reporters’ locations.

8. How to write a dateline:

Datelines on stories should contain a place name, entirely in capital letters, followed in most cases by the name of the state, country or territory where the city is located.DOMESTIC DATELINES: A list of domestic cities that stand alone in datelines:

QUEENS, September 3, 2021

NEW YORK, September 23, 2021

ROCKLAND COUNTY, September 23, 2021

Stories from all other U.S. cities should have both the city and state name in the dateline, including KANSAS CITY, Mo., and KANSAS CITY, Kan.

What Makes a Good Story

Vida Americana Show, Whitney Museum

What Makes a Good Story?

Curiosity Pays Off

All kinds of stories make a good report. But some will pan out and others won’t. We all bring personal history, individual interests and perspective to the job of reporting. You can bet that if you’re curious about something, others will find it interesting too.
Once you have a story in your sights, just remember that as journalists we temper what we bring to the table with a strong measure of objectivity, and an even stronger dose of fairness.

Define A Good Story 
So how do you define a good story? Think about your day and the challenges that you have. Think about your friends and family and how the commute to school or work affects them, what’s happening in their neighborhoods. How do they juggle kids and work, or kids and school? What does the drama in Washington, and President Trump’s tweets have to with them?
You can turn anything into a story. But the best stories have:
• A little drama
• A little conflict
• Pure joy
• Surprising new facts
• Need-to-know information
• Entertainment value
The stories don’t have to extend beyond your college or community to have meaning and impact. But remember you approach the world as a video storyteller now and that means that the stories require interesting video.
1. DRAMA:
A father races into his family’s burning home to save his children. He dashes through the flames again and again and brings five children out to safety. But neither he nor the firefighters can save the sixth child who is asleep in a room at the back of the house. Although it is grim, it is a true story and breaking news reporters find themselves covering a version of this tragedy again and again.
2. CONFLICT:
A community garden is set for demolition to make way for an athletic field. The gardeners and their plants provide a beautiful visual for video, and the conflict is clear. People want to continue to garden and people want to stop them in order to use the land for another, equally valid, purpose.
3. JOY:
A young ballerina from your community wins a competition and lands a job with a prestigious ballet company.
The debut of rare Siberian tiger cubs at a local zoo also falls into this category.
Some stories bring smiles to the faces of your viewers and offer opportunities for creative shooting, writing and editing.
4. NEW INFORMATION:
A doctor tries a new medical procedure in which he uses stem cells harvested from fat. He says that injecting one’s own stem cells into arthritic joints can ease pain and improve movement.
5. NEED TO KNOW INFORMATION:
The city council considers a sales tax hike. There’s a meeting where politicians, merchants and consumers will testify. A timetable and the items covered by the tax will be revealed.
6. ENTERTAINING INFORMATION:
Beyoncé comes to your community to film music video. You have the opportunity to visit the set and report the story. In this category you’d also include fashion, new restaurant openings, or lifestyle segments that highlight new trends.

Enterprise

Some reporters like to come up with their stories and that’s called enterprise reporting. You might have a lead on an unreported element in breaking news, discover the cutest puppy in the neighborhood, get an exclusive interview with an interesting character, learn from a source about a Ponzi schemer or discover a contractor ripping off homeowners.

Unique Reporting 
News directors value enterprise reporting because it produces unique reporting that they can promote. Original reporting gives an organization bragging rights and allows them to draw in viewers with the promise that they’ll see something special that the competition doesn’t have.
Any reporter can produce enterprise work, but covering a specific beat or area means you can develop the sources and knowledge that tend to trigger new story ideas. Investigative, consumer, political, medical, business, entertainment, environmental, life-style, and technology reporters typically generate enterprise stories.
The list expands or contracts depending upon the size of the newsroom. But people with wide-ranging interests and curiosity have tremendous opportunities. You can report about virtually anything, if you come up with the story.

Competition
Competition plays a big role in newsrooms. While producing a news broadcast requires that you work hand in hand with colleagues, and you have to play nice in order to retain your job and succeed, people vie for the best stories and the stories that lead the newscast. General assignment reporters, those who do the important breaking and daily news stories, often view “specialist” reporters suspiciously by daily news reporters.
“What makes them so special? Why do THEY get extra time,” the rank-and file reporters often grumble.
Enterprise Reporters
But while enterprise reporters have the opportunity to take control of their daily destiny, they frequently work longer hours to dig deeper than the reporters who pick up an assignment and bolt to“run and gun” to cover a breaking news story.
Enterprise reporters depend upon sources to tip them to news stories. The hardest working reporters have the best sources. They also have the curiosity to follow leads, ask questions and uncover stories, and the tenacity to work at those stories a long time.

Quick Turns
You’ll turn some stories around quickly. Others stories will take weeks or even months of research and shooting and editing and writing before they’re ready. But if you realize th importance of face-time on the air, you’ll juggle. You’ll produce other stories that can get you on the air or on the web quickly while you’re working on your blockbuster.

Writing A News Conference Story

Think about the atmosphere, what you heard and how other people reacted.

What was the most important point made. Lead with that.

Make sure to give us the basics. You want to avoid giving us a list of items, but you want to cover all the bases and answer the questions:

Who

What

Where

When

Why

How

Make sure you spell names correctly and that you use titles. Titles are only capitalized when they precede the name of a person.

Here’s what the AP Stylebook says about titles:

titles  In general, confine capitalization to formal titles used directly before an individual’s name. The basic guidelines: LOWERCASE: Lowercase and spell out titles when they are not used with an [more…]
Chapter T ; Updated on Aug 27, 2018

capitalization  In general, avoid unnecessary capitals. Use a capital letter only if you can justify it by one of the principles listed here. Many words and phrases, including special cases, are listed [more…]
Chapter C ; Updated on May 21, 2002

titles  Capitalize or use lowercase according to guidelines in titles in Stylebook’s main section. Job descriptions, field positions and informal titles are lowercase: coach John Calipari; forward Alex [more…]
Chapter Sports Guidelines ; Created on Feb 03, 2015

legislative titles  FIRST-REFERENCE FORM: Use Rep., Reps., Sen. and Sens. as formal titles before one or more names. Spell out and lowercase representative and senator in other uses. Spell out other [more…]
Chapter L ; Updated on May 01, 2020

nobility  References to members of the nobility in nations that have a system of rank present special problems because nobles frequently are known by their titles rather than their given or family [more…]
Chapter N

religious titles  The first reference to a clergyman or clergywoman normally should include a capitalized title before the individual’s name. In many cases, the Rev. is the designation that applies [more…]
Chapter R

religious titles  The first reference to a clergyman or clergywoman normally should include a capitalized title before the individual’s name. In many cases, the Rev. is the designation that applies [more…]
Chapter Religion Guidelines

academic titles  Capitalize and spell out formal titles such as chancellor, chair, etc., when they precede a name. Lowercase elsewhere. Lowercase modifiers such as department in department Chair Jerome [more…]
Chapter A ; Updated on May 01, 2020

preacher  A job description, not a formal religious title. Do not capitalize. See titles and religious titles.
Chapter Religion Guidelines

military titles  Capitalize a military rank when used as a formal title before an individual’s name. See the lists that follow to determine whether the title should be spelled out or abbreviated in [more…]
Chapter M

minister  It is not a formal title in most religions, with exceptions such as the Nation of Islam, and is not capitalized. Where it is a formal title, it should be capitalized before the name: Minister [more…]
Chapter M ; Updated on May 29, 2002

minister  It is not a formal title in most religions, with exceptions such as the Nation of Islam, and is not capitalized. Where it is a formal title, it should be capitalized before the name: [more…]
Chapter Religion Guidelines ; Updated on May 29, 2002

fire department  See the governmental bodies entry for the basic rules on capitalization. See titles and military titles for guidelines on titles.
Chapter F

recipe titles  Recipe titles that appear in stories or regular text are not capitalized (unless the recipe title includes proper nouns). Recipe titles at the top of actual recipes are written in all [more…]
Chapter Food Guidelines ; Created on Jan 15, 2016

priest  A vocational description, not a formal title. Do not capitalize. See religious titles and the entries for the Roman Catholic Church and Episcopal Church in the Religion chapter.
Chapter P

priest  A vocational description, not a formal title. Do not capitalize. See religious titles and the entries for the Roman Catholic Church and Episcopal Church.
Chapter Religion Guidelines

editor  Capitalize editor before a name only when it is an official corporate or organizational title. Do not capitalize as a job description. See titles.
Chapter E

composition titles  Apply these guidelines to the titles of books, movies, plays, poems, albums, songs, operas, radio and television programs, lectures, speeches, and works of art: — Capitalize all [more…]
Chapter C ; Updated on Feb 02, 2018

Roman Catholic Church  The church teaches that its bishops have been established as the successors of the apostles through generations of ceremonies in which authority was passed down by a laying-on of [more…]
Chapter Religion Guidelines ; Updated on May 01, 2002

shah  Capitalize when used as a title before a name: Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran. The Shah of Iran commonly is known only by this title, which is, in effect, an alternate name. Capitalize Shah of [more…]
Chapter S Load More

How Journalists Cover the News

Mayor Bill di Blasio in the Blue Room at City for a Press Conference

This is an excerpt from a talk in June 2020 sponsored by the Paley Center for Media hosted by Charles Whitaker, Dean of Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University with CNN Correspondent Omar Jimenez, CBS Correspondent Weijia Jiang and critic Michael Eric Dyson. The clip was assembled for a journalism class at CCNY.

History Informs Journalism – Asian Americans

Cartoon showing an Uncle Sam figure taken aback by a skeleton in the closet representing the Chinese Exclusion Act

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 suspended Chinese immigration for ten years. It was extended for another ten years in 1892.

Chinese migrated to the U. S. in the in the mid 19th century.  An estimated  15 to 20 thousand worked on the Transcontinental Railroad.  They faced discrimination from the American and Irish immigrants who also worked under harsh conditions to build the railroad.

Chinese immigrants also came to California to try to make their fortune after gold was discovered in 1848.  An estimated 25,000 Chinese left China for the U.S. specifically to work the gold mines.

By the end of 1851, Chinese workers made up one-fifth of the population of the four counties where people mined.  In 1870 there were 63,000 Chinese people in the United States and 77 percent were in California.

Thousands of white Americans also came to California looking for riches. But they didn’t realize that it was hard work and that they Chinese immigrants did the back breaking labor to make what they could. When the gold started to run out, the serious racism and attacks began.

An Opinion Piece From USA Today

Yang & Anti-Defamation League CEO: Avoid coronavirus racism and scapegoating

We have to join together to fight this virus effectively. Now is not the time to be torn apart by hatred.

Andrew Yang and Jonathan A. Greenblatt
Opinion contributors

We’ve seen politicians seeking to politicize the virus — decrying it as the “Wuhan virus” for example, or suggesting that foreigners solely are responsible for spreading it; we’ve seen Asian Americans and Jewish Americans and other minority communities blamed for the pandemic; we’ve seen some pundits pointing the finger at prominent Jews as if the virus was the product of some conspiracy; and we’ve seen internet chatter from white supremacists suggesting the disease is spreading in America thanks to an influx of foreigners.

Interview Technique

Whether you interview someone in person, via video chat, or phone, the principles for a good interview remain the same.

  1. Prepare before your interview. Make sure you know as much about the topic and your interview subject as possible.
  2. Use your social skills when you begin the interview. Be friendly without being fawning especially if it’s a celebrity. You want to be on relatively equal footing with your interviewee whether it’s a child, a neighbor, a celebrity, or the president.
  3. Be nice even if you are about to ask tough questions. Be polite.
  4. Often interview subjects feed off of your energy. Make sure that you are energetic without being overbearing.
  5. Try not to read from a list of questions.
  6. Get right to it. Make sure you have the correct spelling and pronunciation of the person’s name in advance.
  7. Don’t waste their time with trivial details.
  8. Make eye contact.
  9. Ask your question and listen to the answer. Listening is really important. The interview subject may say something that needs an immediate followup. She may have given you the answer for the tenth question you have in mind but haven’t asked yet.
  10. You may have to interrupt if the person goes on and on and doesn’t answer the question. Keep the interview in your control. Be firm. But stay pleasant.
  11. Quit when you understand that the interview subject has answered your questions and really has nothing else that is relevant to say.

Easy to Make Mistakes, So Verify

The Parkland shooting shows us how easily you can make a mistake and report things that are untrue in the rush to get a story out quickly.

Two things stand out:

  1. The false report that Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who killed 17 and wounded 14 others at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, was connected to a white supremacist group.
  2. There have been 18 school shootings since January 1st, 2018.

Let’s tackle the first false report.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), an organization that follows hate groups, wrote on its blog the day after the shooting that Cruz was associated with a Jacksonville, Florida, white supremacist group, Republic of Florida (ROF). The ADL had previously been contacted by someone who described himself as the leader of the group.

The ADL told Politico it picked up the information on 4chan, a bulletin board where self-described ROF members claimed Cruz was one of them.  News organizations picked the story up and people on 4chan kept it going. One of the users described it as “prime trolling opportunity,” and the discussions involved fooling reporters and feeding them the story that Cruz was with ROF.

The same kinds of conversations between these trolls about the false connection showed up on Discord, a gamers’ app that attracts neo-Nazis, about a concerted effort to fool reporters.

Politico posted these exchanges from the bulletin boards:

“On the Discord chat, a user called Curbstomp suggested sharing generic photos of ROF and claiming they depicted Cruz.

“I have an idea . . . We can just take a pic of masked ROF members and claim one of them is Cruz,” Curbstomp wrote.

Members of the Discord chat swapped potential photos.

Others joined the chorus on 4chan, interspersing jokes with purported confirmations.

“I can confirm this guy was trying to enact a race war and got kicked out of ROF,” wrote another poster.”

Reporters from AP and ABC contacted the trolls and supposed members of the group and went with the story.

But shortly after the first report, on Thursday, February 15, 2018, the Broward County sheriff said it wasn’t true.

How do you verify a claim that someone is in a hate group?

The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors hate groups. Contact them and ask.

The FBI monitors hate crimes. Some local law enforcement agencies do too. Contact them and ask.

ProPublica, a non-profit news organization, began Documenting Hate, a project that collects data from journalists from more than 130 news organizations as well as independent journalists, local law enforcement, community groups and civil rights groups to try to get a clear picture of what is happening in America

The Anti-Defamation League has been a reliable source in the past.

The bottom line is that Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter are good sources for leads and ways to connect with people. But you have to be extremely careful, because we know that people in chat rooms, on social media, and trolls are determined to spread false information and use reporters to to do it.  Take your time. Report only what you know.

 

 

2. Mistaken numbers about school shootings.

PolitiFact traced the first error to surface to a tweet from ABC reporter Jeff Greenfield.

In the rest of the world, there have been 18 school shootings in the last twenty years. In the U.S., there have been 18 school shootings since January 1.

It picked up 130,000 likes on Twitter.

Greenfield apparently picked up the statistic from Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The number of 18 does not mean that there were 18 incidents of someone going into a school and shooting students, as Cruz allegedly did.

Instead the number includes a man committing suicide in a school parking lot and a student unintentionally firing an instructor’s gun. You can see the full list here.

If we use careful language, we would not classify many as school shootings.

Checking Facts:

PolitiFact checks claims of politicians, reporters and others in the news.

FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center

Snopes.org was founded in 1994 to research urban legends. It has become a go-to source for checking out internet rumors.

Open Secrets.org, part of The Center for Responsive Politics, follows political contributions and money spent on lobbying. It followed where the National Rifle Association (NRA)  money went in the 2016 election.

 

Sunlight Foundation shines the light on government and government officials using public records, technology and information from civic groups and journalists,

See Through New York, a project of the Empire Center, shows you salaries of every public employee in New York State as well as pension information.