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.

 

 

Opinion vs. News

Photographers waiting in the rotunda of the Russell Building in the United States Capitol, Washington, DC. Photo by ConsumerMojo.com

What’s the difference between an opinion piece and a news story? 

An opinion piece gives you information from the point of view of the writer, or presenter. It may include facts, and reporting, but it differs from a news story in that it lays out an individual’s ideas and often their biases.  Opinion is, essentially, someone’s argument for a certain point of view about a specific topic.

When we read newspaper editorial pages, we see two types of opinion. We get the collective opinion of the editors and we also read, on the OpEd page — the page opposite the editorials — what individual columnists have to say in their byline pieces.

A news story reports the facts without the opinion of the reporter, writer, producer or presenter. It can contain attributed or quoted opinions of people interviewed. So a news story can contain opinion and tell a compelling story. But it should not include the opinion of the newsgatherer or the news organization.

A Pew Research Center poll, in 2018, found that younger people were better than older people at figuring out what’s factual and what’s opinion.

Pew said, “About a third of 18- to 49-year-olds (32 percent) correctly identified all five of the factual statements as factual, compared with two-in-ten among those ages 50 and older. A similar pattern emerges for the opinion statements. Among 18- to 49-year-olds, 44 percent correctly identified all five opinion statements as opinions, compared with 26 percent among those ages 50 and older.”

Pew Research Poll Opinion vs. Fact.png

You can take the quiz and see how you do.

https://www.pewresearch.org/quiz/news-statements-quiz/

The First Amendment

Protestors in Washington Square Park, Photo by ConsumerMojo.com

The Bill of RightsThe First Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, guarantees freedom of religion and speech, the press and the right of people to gather to protest and complain to the government.

In its own words:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to freely assemble, and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

After the founders of the United States wrote the U.S. Constitution, some of them realized they had left out critical guarantees to safeguard the type of nation, free of tyranny, they and others wanted.

The newly minted senators and congressmen debated about whether “checks and balances” would protect the rights of the people, or whether they needed to write amendments to the Constitution.

Freedom of the press was one of the priorities for Thomas Jefferson.

Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson wrote a letter to another lawmaker saying,

“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”

Some wanted to rewrite the Constitution but worried that people would think that they intended to tear up what they wanted to protect. They turned to U.S. Virginia Representative James Madison, a good thinker and a good writer.

James Madison

Madison argued that, “A popular government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

In 1789 Madison drafted amendments and presented them to the House of Representatives. The House approved 17 amendments. The Senate approved 12 and the states ratified 10 in December, 1791 as the Bill of Rights.

Thomas Jefferson became the third President of the United States and James Madison became the fourth.

Disinformation Vs. Misinformation

CNN Screen shot

Misinformation is information that’s wrong, false or inaccurate. It happens when people make mistakes and write or say something that isn’t true. It could also be incorrect information that is shared to deceive, or maybe not. 

But disinformation is deliberately, false information aimed to mislead you and others. We know now that it is easily spread on social media.

Disinformation is a manipulative tool meant to harm. 

Disinformation we’ve seen recently

30 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of QAnon, according to a YouGov poll. 

45 percent of Republicans say they favor the actions of the rioters at the Capitol according to another YouGov poll.

70 percent of Republicans believe Trump won the election.

40 percent of Americans believe the false notion that COVID-19 was manufactured in a lab in Wuhan China.

Disinformation has a history

Disinformation is not a new phenomenon.  The Russians apparently first used the term dezinformatsiya  in 1923 to describe their effort to manipulate public opinion. It was used by the then KGB, which is now the GRU.  This was basically their term for propaganda, according to Wikipedia. 

English speaking intelligence agencies picked up the term in the 1950’s, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.  (OED)

Governments used disinformation against each other during World War II and during the Cold War.  

The Russians used disinformation in the run up to the 2016 election, according to the Mueller Report. 

 
This is from an article from Poynter, a news literacy organization. 
Jane Lytvynenko, reporter for BuzzFeed News, whose Twitter posts and reporting are required reading for anyone trying to understand this space:

“There’s a direct connection between disinformation and the insurrection on Capitol Hill. The mob was motivated by the false idea of a stolen election, which has traveled across social media for months, amplified by Mr. Trump and his supporters. Courts and election officials alike have rejected the idea of a stolen election, but their hard evidence was no match for the power of viral memes reinforced by lies and half-truths from elected officials. We’ve seen this scenario play out globally, and now it’s playing out in the U.S.”

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/janelytvynenko/disinformation-broke-us

 

New Yorker Reporter Luke Mogelson followed Trump supporters as they forced their way into the U.S. Capitol, using his phone’s camera as a reporter’s notebook.

 

 

 
 

 

COVID Vaccine Misinformation on Facebook and Social Media

Misinformation – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Misinformation
noun

  1. false or inaccurate information, especially that which is deliberately intended to deceive.”nuclear matters are often entangled in a web of secrecy and misinformation”synonyms:disinformation, false information, misleading information, deception; lie, fib, false rumor, trumped-up story, fake news, alternative fact, gossip, red herring, false trail.
  2. Misinformation is false or inaccurate information. Examples of misinformation include false rumors, insults and pranks, while examples of more deliberate disinformation include malicious content such as hoaxes, spearphishing and propaganda.‎

The Center for Counter Digital (CCD) hate compiled a list of 12 people who spread misinformation on social media. All of them seem like reliable experts and the CCD says they are responsible for spreading almost two-thirds of the anti-vaxxer disinformation on social media. Here are a couple of examples.

Screen shot of article Rizza Islam Vaccinate Conspiracy theorist
Anti-Vaxer Joseph Mercola

Read More

BuzzFeed also tracked so-called experts who spread COVID and vaccine disinformation.

Buzz Feed Fake Experts

Read More

Before COVID, Before the Capitol Insurrection, There was the Mueller Report.

The Mueller Report issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team documented Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential election.

In February 2018, before the report was issued, the Special Counsel indicted 13 foreign nationals and a Russian “troll farm” connected to the Internet Research Agency or IRA. Facebook disclosed in the fall of 2017 that it sold $100,000 worth of ads to the Internet Research Agency.

How did they use the ads on Facebook and on other social media platforms?

This is from the Mueller Report:

 

“Dozens of IRA employees were responsible for operating accounts and personas on
different U.S. social media platforms. The IRA referred to employees assigned to operate the social media accounts as “specialists.”42 Starting as early as 2014, the IRA U.S. operations included social media specialists focusing on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

The IRA later added specialists who operated on Tumblr and Instagram accounts.44
Initially, the IRA created social media accounts that pretended to be the personal accounts of U.S. persons.

By early 2015, the IRA began to create larger social media groups or public
social media pages that claimed (falsely) to be affiliated with U.S. political and grassroots organizations. In certain cases, the IRA created accounts that mimicked real U.S. organizations.

For example, one IRA-controlled Twitter account, @TEN_ GOP, purported to be connected to the Tennessee Republican Party.

More commonly, the IRA created accounts in the names of
fictitious U.S. organizations and grassroots groups and used these accounts to pose as antiimmigration groups, Tea Party activists, Black Lives Matter protestors, and other U.S. social and
political activists.


Groups (with names such as “Being Patriotic,” “Stop All Immigrants,” “Secured Borders,” and
“Tea Party News”), purported Black social justice groups (“Black Matters,” “Blacktivist,” and
“Don’t Shoot Us”), LGBTQ groups (“LGBT United”), and religious groups (“United Muslims of
America”).
Throughout 2016, IRA accounts published an increasing number of materials supporting the Trump Campaign and opposing the Clinton Campaign. For example, on May 31, 2016, the operational account “Matt Skiber” began to privately message dozens of pro-Trump Facebook groups asking them to help plan a “pro-Trump rally near Trump Tower.”55
To reach larger U.S. audiences, the IRA purchased advertisements from Facebook that
promoted the IRA groups on the newsfeeds of U.S. audience members. According to Facebook, the IRA purchased over 3,500 advertisements, and the expenditures totaled approximately $100,000.56.


During the U.S. presidential campaign, many IRA-purchased advertisements explicitly
supported or opposed a presidential candidate or promoted U.S. rallies organized by the IRA ( discussed below). As early as March 2016, the IRA purchased advertisements that overtly opposed the Clinton Campaign. For example, on March 18, 2016, the IRA purchased an advertisement depicting candidate Clinton and a caption that read in part, “If one day God lets this liar enter the White House as a president – that day would be a real national tragedy.”57
Similarly, on April 6, 2016, the IRA purchased advertisements for its account “Black Matters” calling for a “flashmob” of U.S. persons to “take a photo with #HillaryClintonForPrison2016 or nohillary2016.”

Collectively, the IRA’s social media accounts reached tens of millions of U.S. persons.
Individual IRA social media accounts attracted hundreds of thousands of followers. For example, at the time they were deactivated by Facebook in mid-2017, the IRA’s “United Muslims of America”

Facebook group had over 300,000 followers, the “Don’t Shoot Us” Facebook group had over 250,000 followers, the “Being Patriotic” Facebook group had over 200,000 followers, and the “Secured Borders” Facebook group had over 130,000 followers.61 According to Facebook, in total the IRA-controlled accounts made over 80,000 posts before their deactivation in August 2017, and these posts reached at least 29 million U.S persons and “may have reached an estimated 126
million people.”62
pg. 26

https://www.justice.gov/storage/report.p

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.

 

Resources for Stories

Look up building code violations

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hpd/about/hpd-online.page

New York City Construction Accidents

Using an Attorney as a source

https://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneysblog.com/nyc-construction-accident-deaths-and-injuries-declined-in-2020/#:~:text=8%20construction%20workers%20died%20and,main%20factor%20behind%20this%20decline.

Osha

https://www.osha.gov/data/commonstats

New York City Agencies

General Info
pressoffice@cityhall.nyc.gov
212-788-2958

NYPD

Kaye, Devora
Assistant Commissioner of External Affairs
Devora.Kaye@nypd.org
646-610-6700

General Info
DCPI@nypd.org
646-610-6700

Dwyer, Frank
Deputy Commissioner, Ext. Afrs and Public Info
Frank.Dwyer@fdny.nyc.gov
718-999-2833

General Info
fdnyopi@fdny.nyc.gov
718-999-2056

Health & HospitalsMiller, Chris
Senior Director for Media Relations
millerc15@nychhc.org
212-788-3339

Full List of Press Contacts

https://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/agency-press-contacts.page

Immigration

Migration Policy Institute

https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/frequently-requested-statistics-immigrants-and-immigration-united-states

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

https://www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics

Center for Immigration Studies

https://cis.org/Immigration-Statistics-Data-Portal

The Myth of the Criminal Immigrant

By ANNA FLAGG MARCH 30, 2018

Immigrant population

Change since 1980

Violent crime rate

Change since 1980

The Trump administration’s first year of immigration policy has relied on claims that immigrants bring crime into America. President Trump’s latest target is sanctuary cities.

Read more

RESEARCH RESOURCES

http://www.gunviolencearchive.org/about

Continue reading “Resources for Stories”

Recording Phone Calls

Young woman with red hair and smart phone.

We want to make sure that you take special precautions to stay safe when doing an interview. The best method now, not always, is using your phone. You can record with Voice Memos. But it may not be the best quality. You can also get an app that does a good job.

Rev Call Recorder is available for free in the App Store. It says it provides free and unlimited call recording.

TapeACall is a favorite in the podcast world. It offers a free trial for seven days. That might work for your next assignment. But they ask for a credit card and that turned me off.

THE LAW AND RECORDING PHONE CALLS

Federal and state wire-tapping laws govern how, or if, you can record a telephone call.

You could be prosecuted or sued if you don’t follow the rules. So it’s imperative to understand and abide by them.

Federal law requires one-party consent. That party could be you. But individual states have their own laws. New York and New Jersey require only one-party consent. Again, that could be you.

But twelve states including California and Florida require all parties to consent to the recording.

You can check the laws of all the states here.

The Ethics of Recording A Call

It is always important to be as transparent as possible. Before you hit the record button ask your interviewee if it is okay with them. You want to make sure they are comfortable with having their voice and words recorded. They generally say, “Yes,” and appreciate being asked. This is the ethical thing to do when you are dealing with a regular interview.

The rules, not the law, change when you are interviewing for a story that requires undercover work. News organizations have different rules for their reporters and you want to make sure that you follow them carefully.

Journalists have a responsibility to honor the trust of the public and the people they interview. Please take this seriously.

Jimmy Breslin’s Grave Digger Story

‘It’s An Honor’

New York Herald Tribune, November 1963

By Jimmy Breslin

WASHINGTON — Clifton Pollard was pretty sure he was going to be working on Sunday, so when he woke up at 9 a.m., in his three-room apartment on Corcoran Street, he put on khaki overalls before going into the kitchen for breakfast. His wife, Hettie, made bacon and eggs for him. Pollard was in the middle of eating them when he received the phone call he had been expecting. It was from Mazo Kawalchik, who is the foreman of the gravediggers at Arlington National Cemetery, which is where Pollard works for a living. “Polly, could you please be here by 11 o’clock this morning?” Kawalchik asked. “I guess you know what it’s for.” Pollard did. He hung up the phone, finished breakfast, and left his apartment so he could spend Sunday digging a grave for John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

When Pollard got to the row of yellow wooden garages where the cemetery equipment is stored, Kawalchik and John Metzler, the cemetery superintendent, were waiting for him. “Sorry to pull you out like this on a Sunday,” Metzler said. “Oh, don’t say that,” Pollard said. “Why, it’s an honor for me to be here.” Pollard got behind the wheel of a machine called a reverse hoe. Gravedigging is not done with men and shovels at Arlington. The reverse hoe is a green machine with a yellow bucket that scoops the earth toward the operator, not away from it as a crane does. At the bottom of the hill in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Pollard started the digging (Editor Note: At the bottom of the hill in front of the Custis-Lee Mansion).

Leaves covered the grass. When the yellow teeth of the reverse hoe first bit into the ground, the leaves made a threshing sound which could be heard above the motor of the machine. When the bucket came up with its first scoop of dirt, Metzler, the cemetery superintendent, walked over and looked at it. “That’s nice soil,” Metzler said. “I’d like to save a little of it,” Pollard said. “The machine made some tracks in the grass over here and I’d like to sort of fill them in and get some good grass growing there, I’d like to have everything, you know, nice.”

James Winners, another gravedigger, nodded. He said he would fill a couple of carts with this extra-good soil and take it back to the garage and grow good turf on it. “He was a good man,” Pollard said. “Yes, he was,” Metzler said. “Now they’re going to come and put him right here in this grave I’m making up,” Pollard said. “You know, it’s an honor just for me to do this.”

Pollard is 42. He is a slim man with a mustache who was born in Pittsburgh and served as a private in the 352nd Engineers battalion in Burma in World War II. He is an equipment operator, grade 10, which means he gets $3.01 an hour. One of the last to serve John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who was the 35th president of this country, was a working man who earns $3.01 an hour and said it was an honor to dig the grave.

Yesterday morning, at 11:15, Jacqueline Kennedy started toward the grave. She came out from under the north portico of the White House and slowly followed the body of her husband, which was in a flag-covered coffin that was strapped with two black leather belts to a black caisson that had polished brass axles. She walked straight and her head was high. She walked down the bluestone and blacktop driveway and through shadows thrown by the branches of seven leafless oak trees. She walked slowly past the sailors who held up flags of the states of this country. She walked past silent people who strained to see her and then, seeing her, dropped their heads and put their hands over their eyes. She walked out the northwest gate and into the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue. She walked with tight steps and her head was high and she followed the body of her murdered husband through the streets of Washington.

Everybody watched her while she walked. She is the mother of two fatherless children and she was walking into the history of this country because she was showing everybody who felt old and helpless and without hope that she had this terrible strength that everybody needed so badly. Even though they had killed her husband and his blood ran onto her lap while he died, she could walk through the streets and to his grave and help us all while she walked.

There was Mass, and then the procession to Arlington. When she came up to the grave at the cemetery, the casket already was in place. It was set between brass railings and it was ready to be lowered into the ground. This must be the worst time of all, when a woman sees the coffin with her husband inside and it is in place to be buried under the earth. Now she knows that it is forever. Now there is nothing. There is no casket to kiss or hold with your hands. Nothing material to cling to. But she walked up to the burial area and stood in front of a row of six green-covered chairs and she started to sit down, but then she got up quickly and stood straight because she was not going to sit down until the man directing the funeral told her what seat he wanted her to take.

The ceremonies began, with jet planes roaring overhead and leaves falling from the sky. On this hill behind the coffin, people prayed aloud. They were cameramen and writers and soldiers and Secret Service men and they were saying prayers out loud and choking. In front of the grave, Lyndon Johnson kept his head turned to his right. He is president and he had to remain composed. It was better that he did not look at the casket and grave of John Fitzgerald Kennedy too often. Then it was over and black limousines rushed under the cemetery trees and out onto the boulevard toward the White House. “What time is it?” a man standing on the hill was asked. He looked at his watch. “Twenty minutes past three,” he said.

Clifton Pollard wasn’t at the funeral. He was over behind the hill, digging graves for $3.01 an hour in another section of the cemetery. He didn’t know who the graves were for. He was just digging them and then covering them with boards. “They’ll be used,” he said. “We just don’t know when. I tried to go over to see the grave,” he said. “But it was so crowded a soldier told me I couldn’t get through. So I just stayed here and worked, sir. But I’ll get over there later a little bit. Just sort of look around and see how it is, you know. Like I told you, it’s an honor.”

Homework Assignment give November 4, 2021 for November 10, 2021

Please write a pitch that lays out your idea and plan for reporting a story about something that you care about. The pitch is due November 10 at 5 p.m. A pitch is important in journalism and entertainment and advertising and public relations. Bosses will frequently ask for you to “pitch.” That means you have to flesh out your idea.

A pitch is not your story. It is a description of what your story is about and who you plan to interview to find out information. You will need to interview at least three or four people, not your family members.

Your can report about something in your community, or something on campus, or something in the culture. Remember that you need access to people who can provide information to you.

Here’s what I posted last February about writing a pitch. If you need more help, let me know.

Posted on by ccnyintroductiontojournalism

How to Write A Pitch

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.

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)

Reporting About What Happened To Ahmaud Arbery

 

8 potential jurors advance in Ahmaud Arbery slaying trial

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/17/us/ahmaud-arbery-shooting-trial.html

October 19, 2021

 

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A judge found eight potential jurors qualified to advance Tuesday following intense questioning aimed at finding an impartial jury for the trial of three white men charged with chasing and killing Ahmaud Arbery, whose slaying last year sparked a national outcry.

Father and son Greg and Travis McMichael and a neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, are charged with murder and other crimes in the 25-year-old Black man’s death after a cellphone video of the Feb. 23, 2020, killing was leaked online two months later.

“We can’t do this without you,” Superior Court Judge Timothy Walmsley told the eight pool members, the first to advance after being questioned individually by attorneys on what they know about Arbery’s death, how many times they watched the video and whether they think the shooting was motivated by racism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000007142853/ahmaud-arbery-video-911-georgia.html

 

 

https://www.gpb.org/news/2020/06/05/georgia-today-reporting-on-ahmaud-arbery-the-rest-of-the-world-caught-on

 

Ahmaud Arbery

CaptionAhmaud Arbery 

The shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery outside Brunswick, Georgia, sparked nationwide outrage — but not right away. 

Arbery died Feb. 23, but it took more than two months for charges to be filed, and that was only after a disturbing video of the shooting was released. When Brunswick News reporter Larry Hobbs heard about Arbery’s death a day after it happened, what struck him was how no one was talking about it. 

GPB’s Steve Fennessy talks with Brunswick News reporter Larry Hobbs, the first journalist to cover the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. 

As the days and weeks went by following Arbery’s death, the scope of the tragedy began to take focus.

On this episode of Georgia Today, Hobbs recalls the strange, silent days and weeks following the shooting, the pinball movements as the case bounced from prosecutor to prosecutor and what the story revealed about the community he covers.TagsGeorgia TodayGregory McMichaelTravis McMichaelAhmaud ArberyBrunswick

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About the authors

Author

Sean Powers

SEAN POWERSDirector of Podcasting

Sean Powers is Georgia Public Broadcasting’s first director of podcasting. He joined GPB in 2014 as a producer/reporter with On Second Thought, and remained with the program until 2018. For his last four months on the show, he served as acting senior producer.