How to Write A Pitch

Outdoor Restaurant on Corneila Street

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

Your outdoor dining pitch might read like this:

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

Or

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

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

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

Assignment October 29, 2020

Election Coverage

On election day, go to a polling place or a ballot drop off center. Report about what’s going on there. Choose an angle for the story based on what people tell you.

You could report that people stayed to vote even though they had to wait a long time. But tell us Who, What, Where, Why, When and maybe How.

Interview at least three people and maybe more.

Get first and last names.

You could report about multi-generational voters.

You could report about immigrants voting for the first time.

You could report about a young person voting for the first time.

You choose the angle.

Write 350 to 500 words. Keep your focus and make sure that one idea follows the next.

Start with a lede in the inverted pyramid or pyramid style. Remember to tell us what the story is about in the nut graf.

Make sure your story has a beginning, middle and end.

Associate Press Counts the Votes

https://www.ap.org/en-us/topics/politics/elections/counting-the-vote

The process
Instead of relying on crowd-sourcing or vulnerable technology, our 50-state network of local reporters have first-hand knowledge of their territories and trusted relationships with county clerks and other local officials. These stringers collect votes at a local level. We also gather results from state or county websites and electronic data feeds from states. On election night, race callers in each state are armed with a wealth of additional detailed information from our election research team, including demographics, the number of absentee ballots, and political issues that may affect the outcome of races they must call. Race callers are part of AP’s Decision Desk, which will declare winners in more than 7,000 races in the 2020 general election.
1. Collect the votes
Our stringers collect votes at a local level from county clerks throughout the night.

2. Phone in the results
Stringer phones in results to a vote entry clerk in one of our Vote Entry Centers.

3. Key in the data
A dedicated vote entry clerk keys in results.

4. Double check, and check again
Votes are subject to an intense series of checks and verifications. In 2016, we were 99.8% accurate in calling U.S. races, and 100% accurate in calling the presidential and congressional races for each state.

5. Deliver the results – fast
Results are posted on member websites and used in broadcast, newspaper stories, etc. Results are updated throughout the evening and the days following Election Day.

How Mail-In Ballots Can Delay Election Results

Shot of early voting sign on the street. Photo by ConsumerMojo.com

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/10/28/us/politics/vote-count-how-long.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

From the Washington Post

By Derek Hawkins and Jacob BogageOct. 28, 2020 at 7:44 p.m. EDTAdd to list

Amid a record surge in early voting, millions of mail ballots remained unreturned Wednesday, prompting a flurry of warnings from election officials that ballots sent via the U.S. Postal Service at this point may not arrive in time to be counted.

With Election Day less than a week away, more than 42 million out of the 92 million mail ballots requested by voters nationally had not yet been returned as of Wednesday afternoon, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project, a nonpartisan site tracking early voting.

In the 20 states where party affiliation data was available, more than 11 million of the outstanding ballots had been requested by Democrats, nearly 8 million by Republicans and about 10 million by unaffiliated voters, according to the Elections Project.

Read More

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hacker-releases-georgia-county-election-data-after-ransom-not-paid-11603923101?mod=djm_dailydiscvrtst.

From the New York Times

Trailing in Pennsylvania, the Trump camp tries to make it harder to cast a vote.

President Trump’s campaign is pursuing a three-pronged strategy in the crucial battleground state of Pennsylvania that would effectively suppress mail-in votes there by tightening the counting time available for absentee votes, limiting the number of late mail-in ballots that can be accepted and intimidating people who are trying to vote early.

The state is one of a handful that by law prevent mail-in votes from counted until Election Day. In Pennsylvania and other swing states, these ballots are expected to skew heavily toward Democrats.

In an effort to accommodate a pandemic-driven avalanche of absentee ballots, Pennsylvania, like many other states, has tried to relax some rules, like the one that requires all votes to be counted within six days after Election Day, by extending the period to nine days. But the Trump campaign has leaned on Republican allies in the legislature to prevent any changes.

Read More

From the Washington Post

By Derek Hawkins and Jacob BogageOct. 28, 2020 at 7:44 p.m. EDTAdd to list

Amid a record surge in early voting, millions of mail ballots remained unreturned Wednesday, prompting a flurry of warnings from election officials that ballots sent via the U.S. Postal Service at this point may not arrive in time to be counted.

With Election Day less than a week away, more than 42 million out of the 92 million mail ballots requested by voters nationally had not yet been returned as of Wednesday afternoon, according to data from the U.S. Elections Project, a nonpartisan site tracking early voting.

In the 20 states where party affiliation data was available, more than 11 million of the outstanding ballots had been requested by Democrats, nearly 8 million by Republicans and about 10 million by unaffiliated voters, according to the Elections Project.

Read More

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/10/28/us/politics/vote-count-how-long.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/10/28/mail-ballots-postal-service/

Difference between the candidates: https://www.cbs.com/shows/60_minutes/

Punctuation Update

Quotation marks in a bubble

The Reuters Style Guide offers guidance about grammar and word usage. It is free and an excellent resource for you.

http://handbook.reuters.com/index.php?title=The_Reuters_Style_Guide&oldid=251

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.”

Assignment Thursday, October 22, 2020

Watch the Presidential Debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

  1. Pick one topic that you, members of your family or community care about.. Report about how they discuss that subject and include quotes.

The story must include: Who, What, When, Why, Where and maybe How

It is due on Monday October 26, at 5 p.m.

Remember to write in the active voice . You can check the website for tips.

Remember to care to capitalize words correctly. Here’s a guide on our website: https://ccnyintroductiontojournalism.com/category/basics/

Assignment October 15, 2020 Cover the Town Halls


Please watch either the Biden or Trump town hall tonight and report and write about it. You can find information about the time and the possibility to watch online later here.

Write 300 to 500 words about the event. Take an angle and remember that you can use either the inverted pyramid style, or start with an interesting detail. You also want to put your nut graf close to the top of the story. The nut graf explains what the story is about.

You can look at examples of how news organizations covered previous town halls here.

The assignment is due Monday at 5 p.m

Please ask if you have questions.

Covering the Biden and Trump Town Halls

Michael M. Grynbaum

By Michael M. Grynbaum

  • Oct. 15, 2020, 7:00 a.m. EST
  • The presidential candidates will respond to questions from voters in prime time on Thursday at two live, nationally televised town-hall-style events. Unusually, the programs will be broadcast at the same time on rival networks, although recordings of each event will be available to viewers afterward.
  • Joseph R. Biden Jr. will appear at an ABC News forum held at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and moderated by ABC’s chief news anchor, George Stephanopoulos. The event begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time and is expected to last 90 minutes. A 30-minute wrap-up show, featuring analysis from ABC political reporters and pundits, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m.
  • About 21 voters from across Pennsylvania, of varying political views, will be on hand to ask Mr. Biden questions. Mr. Stephanopoulos will guide the discussion and follow up on some of the queries.
  • Mr. Biden’s town hall can be seen on ABC television stations throughout the country. It will also be streamed on ABC News Live, an online service that can be watched on Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV and other streaming platforms, as well as the ABC News website.
  • President Trump’s NBC News event will be held outdoors at the Pérez Art Museum in Miami and will be moderated by the “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie. The broadcast starts at 8 p.m. Eastern and is expected to last for about an hour.

Read More

Biden, Facing Voters in a 2020 Rarity, Attacks Trump From a Battleground State

At a town hall event near Scranton, Pa., the Democratic nominee played up his local roots as he sought to connect with voters after many months off the campaign trail during the pandemic.


By Katie Glueck
Sept. 17, 2020


Joseph R. Biden Jr. faced his first sustained questioning from voters as the Democratic presidential nominee on Thursday, as Pennsylvanians pressed him on issues including health care, racism and policing at a CNN town-hall-style event held less than seven weeks before Election Day.
At a gathering in Moosic, Pa., not far from his childhood home in Scranton, Mr. Biden — who played up his local, middle-class roots — sought at every opportunity to turn the focus to President Trump’s stewardship of the coronavirus, casting the president as a callous leader who cannot empathize with the concerns of most Americans and who has exacerbated the hardships they face.
“You lost your freedom because he didn’t act,” Mr. Biden declared. “The freedom to go to that ballgame, the freedom for your kid to go to school, the freedom to see your mom or dad in the hospital. The freedom just to walk around your neighborhood, because of failure to act responsibly.”

The appearance offered a test of his verbal agility less than two weeks before the first presidential debate, after Mr. Biden spent the summer largely off the campaign trail with limited and often controlled interactions with the news media. Headed into the evening, he may have benefited from the low expectations Republicans have set about his ability to communicate clearly, seeking to throw doubt on his mental acuity.

Read More

The New York Daily News

Biden reminds America he’s not president after Trump tries to pass the buck on coronavirus mask mandate

You can’t order Americans to wear masks if you aren’t president yet.

Joe Biden reminded President Trump that he’s the one who’s supposed to be running the country — not Democrats — after a rocky televised town hall hosted by ABC News in which the president sought to pass the buck on his bungled response to coronavirus.

Trump squirmed Tuesday night when a retired chemical engineer asked him why he hasn’t pushed mask-wearing to slow the spread of coronavirus even as the pandemic death toll nears 200,000 Americans.

The president tried to flip the question onto Democrats and Biden, even though they obviously have no power to do implement a national mandate and cannot force Trump himself to be a role model as the voter suggested.

“They called for a national mask mandate but they haven’t done it,” he said. “They checked out.”

Trump went on to claim that “many people have a problem with masks,” suggesting that waiters wind up causing more health problems by touching their masks while serving diners.

The mask misstep was only one of a series of shocking gaffes Trump committed in the rare face-to-face encounter with real Americans.

Trump sought to walk back his damaging admission that he “aways downplayed” the pandemic even as he was told it was far more dangerous than most Americans knew last winter.

“I actually up-played it,” Trump said in a stilted remark that is sure to find its way into critical campaign ads.

One voter who needs daily medication to survive chided Trump four interrupting her when she asked him a pointed question about protection for people with preexisting conditions.

An uncomfortable Trump claimed that he doesn’t want to eliminate those protections, even though his move to eliminate Obamacare would do just that.

When Trump sought to claim that he is preparing to roll out his own health care plan soon, ABC News host George Stephanopolous reminded him that he has been making similar claims for four years now.

The town hall featured voters in battleground Pennsylvania. If the tough crowd is any indication of how Trump may fare at the ballot box in November, he is in a world of trouble.RELATED GALLERY

Joe Biden

(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)1 / 18

Joe Biden’s political career through the years

A Philadelphia pastor quizzed Trump about racism in America, and Trump responded by discussing the occasional looting and violence committed at some racial justice protests.

Rev. Carl Day came away profoundly unimpressed, even though he added that he hasn’t heard enough from Biden to win his vote yet, either.

“He gave his answer by not answering,” Day said on CNN Wednesday morning.

The town hall setting is a particularly poor format for the normally bombastic Trump, who is visibly uncomfortable interacting with anyone except his sycophantic aides and loyal #MAGA supporters.

The upcoming three debates with Biden may be a better fit for Trump, who will get a better chance to fire zingers at his Democratic opponent.

Either way, time is running out for Trump to turn the race around. With seven weeks to go and voters already casting ballots early in some states, he is trailing Biden by nearly 10% in national polls and is behind in all the battleground states, albeit by smaller margins.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.