Class notes: April 30

Live Tweeting Review: #micact2019

Final exam review:

Choose the best headline based on SEO practices (Review on Tuesday)

–Which is best source for data about specific subject?

Interviews & Quotes:
Ex: Paraphrase the below to set up for the best direct quote

Punctuation and Grammar:
Ex: Choose the sentence that is punctuated correctly.

a Martin Luther King Jr. is famous for his speech, “I have a dream.”
b Martin Luther King Jr. is famous for his speech, “I have a dream”.

a The organization will be electing it’s new president soon.
b The organization will be electing its new president soon.

Photos and Interactive elements:
What are some of the different shots that make up a photo (or video) sequence?
Which tool might you use to add value to a story about _______?

True/False/Multiple choice
When adding a link to a blog post or any online text, it’s best to leave the URL visible rather than hyperlink it from any keywords/anchor text. True or False

Writing exercise: 

You’ll be assigned to write a short news story based on the “reporter’s notes” provided. There will not be one correct way to complete this exercise, but you’ll want to make sure to include the following:

  • A strong, active headline using important SEO-friendly keywords
  • A strong, straightforward lead
  • Separate paragraphs of 2-3 sentences for each new idea or quote
  • Clearly and accurately paraphrased information from sources
  • Direct (and properly punctuated!) quotes from sources

Live-Tweeting the ACT Conference


In lieu of class on Thursday, you’re required to attend and “live tweet” an ACT Conference session of your choice – a live tweet will verify your attendance.
(Note: Breakfast and Lunch sessions don’t count)


The full agenda is here.

Hashtag: #MICACT9

You are welcome to attend any and all sessions of the conference –
students may attend for free.

Please make sure to be at the Overby Center PRIOR to the
session start time.

If you’re just starting out on Twitter, read this guide:

You are expected to “live tweet” the session that you attend. You would
be wise to read up on your session speakers ahead of time. If they have Twitter handles, tag them – if they don’t, tag their organization.

It would also be wise to announce to your regular followers that you are
covering this event, so they can expect to see a flurry of Twitter
activity around it. (Alternately, you may create a Twitter account just
for the purposes of this exercise.)

Please make sure to set your account to PUBLIC during and
immediately following this event so that I can see your contributions.

Please review the below tips for effective live-

1.Know what you’re covering! Accuracy trumps speed!
All of the same rules of reporting and writing apply to social media as
they do to any kind of publishing: Tweets must be factual, accurate
and grammatical. If you are quoting your sources directly, use quote
marks and be sure to tag them so that they have the opportunity to

Spend some time getting familiar with the speakers – look them up on
Twitter (I have provided the relevant Twitter handles above), see who
they follow and what their interests are, and be prepared to tag them
in your comments using their Twitter handles when it makes sense to.

Pro Tip: GET a PROGRAM and make sure you’re spelling names/titles correctly!

2. Use the relevant hashtags and tags:
Make sure that you’re part of the conversation — you should use
any official conference hashtags in every tweet. You may want to use other hashtags
as well, and you will DEFINITELY want to tag the source when you’re
quoting them directly — but always include the conference hashtag.

3. Engage with other users
Live tweeting is a great opportunity to connect with others who are
interested in and talking about similar topics. Favorite and RT
intelligent tweets, follow them, or start conversations with them.

4. Make sure your coverage is adding value
Let your followers know you are live tweeting an event – include the
who, what, when, where and why. Tweet pivotal moments with
quotes and descriptions, not just flat updates. Share videos and
photos that will help others to follow the event remotely.

5. Make sure to provide context.
Don’t rely on earlier tweets to explain who you’re quoting or what
you’re talking about – make sure that you tag your sources every time
if you’re quoting them, directly or indirectly.

No What Works assignment due.
Last pass on WordPress blog (now’s the time to fix any outstanding issues!)

April 18: Class Notes


Watch video of bike crash 

News Orgs publish their codes of ethics:

ONA: Create your own Ethics

Video shows vicious beating in possible hate crime



Edits on Story #4

Make headlines snappy


Tell the reader who you’re hearing from – and why (POKEMON, FOREX)

Great links throughout — DON’T SHOW CODE!

Use links to provide background – not as a shortcut for explaining basic info–Lots of opportunities for BACKGROUND links — save links when you’re researching!!!!

Avoid logistical minutiae!!!

Great quotes!! Don’t repeat info…


Next week: We will meet for class on Tuesday as scheduled – in lieu of class on Thursday, you’re required to attend a session of the ACT Conference – a live tweet will verify your attendance.

Class notes: April 16

ETHICS: p. 326 in Carole Rich textbook

The Poynter Institute Model

Robert M. Steele, The Poynter Institute’s expert in ethical issues, suggests that journalists ask these questions before making decisions in ethical dilemmas:

Why am I concerned about this story, photo or graphic?

What is the news? What good would publication do?

Is the information complete and accurate, to the best of my knowledge?

Am I missing an important point of view?

What does my reader need to know?

How would I feel if the story or photo were about me or a member of my family?

What are the likely consequences of publication? What good or harm could result?

What are my alternatives?

Will I be able to clearly and honestly explain my decision to anyone who challenges it?


Was the NYTimes right to publish an anonymous Op-Ed about resistance from within the Trump administration?

Class notes: April 11


Attendance reminder

Finals: Thursday, May 9 at Noon
We will have a final in this class – it will cover some of the concepts, skills and best practices we’ve worked on this semester.

**404 PAGE NOT FOUND**- WAYBACK MACHINE! Ex: Ed Meek ‘Should I stay or should I go” story for the DM.

Peer review of stories:

Swap stories with someone you haven’t traded before. Use the News Story Checklist to provide feedback.

Share: Strongest headlines/leads/quotes/anecdotes/source

What Works assignment for Tuesday:
“I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration”

Reading: Carole Rich textbook, Chap 16: Media Ethics

Class notes: April 9


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Story Structure: Coaching  Tips for Refining Your Own Writing Process

Conceiving the idea:

What struck you as most interesting or important?

What is most newsworthy?

What is the main point of the story that readers or viewers need to know or would want to know?

Writing is Re-writing!!

Write a first draft; mark “fix it later” if you get stuck. Don’t perfect every line during the drafting process.

Read your story aloud when you finish. You will hear the pacing and also catch errors.

Use lists or sections to move the reader quickly through parts of the story.

Don’t struggle to get the perfect lead. Write a few leads and continue writing the story; choose a preferred lead later.

Test your endings to see if you have overwritten or strained your last paragraph. Put your hand over your last paragraph and see if the previous paragraph is a better ending.

Try free-writing. If you are stuck organizing your story, put away your notes and just write what you remember. Then plug in the facts and quotes from your notes.



If you can’t figure out how to write your lead, don’t suffer. Start with a focus sentence or a nut graph or write a few leads and choose the best one later.

To find your lead, ask yourself these questions:
What will hook the reader’s or viewer’s attention?
What does the reader or viewer need to know first or most to understand the story?
What is the story about?

Check your notes and write a sentence that will lead into your strongest quote

Class notes: April 5

Note about responsive design:

Look at your websites – does it look different? In what ways has it adapted?


Looking at different ways of telling a story sometimes gives you new angles to include – can help direct your reporting:


You need to have content that you’re connecting to and/or importing, but you can directly load your own images (unlike in the Timeline tool).

Make the most of available media:

Campus maps —

Class notes: April 2


Your stories have been graded/posted to blackboard if you turned them in on time. Late stories will be returned on Thursday.

Jour 377 vs Jour 378

Friday 11AM: Who can attend/seeking volunteers

Note about diversity in reporting:

Not just about black/white – about considering alternate viewpoints, which ultimately will make a story stronger.


Story #4 pitches


Working with Storymaps




Class notes: March 28

TIMELINES (Email me or post if you didn’t already!)

STORY #3 NOTES (you should submit for late grade if you haven’t already)

Always lead with your best info!

Many stories are “moving” stories — they don’t start or end with your coverage — and some of the information you include will necessarily be based on prior research/reports.

But the story shouldn’t just rehash information that’s already available — it should advance the story, move it forward in some way.

***The most effective way to accomplish this is to put your strongest, newest information that’s unique to your reporting at the very top of your story.*** You want to emphasize the information that the reader can find out only from reading your story.


Stick with the facts:

If you’re frequently relying on words like “seemed,” you need to make sure that you are sticking with factual information, not hearsay or false assumptions.

Ex: Oxford’s construction has been on a trend lately where things just can’t seem to get finished on time…


No need to do a windup…just cold open on the quoted material:


When reached for comment Rod Guajardo Associate Director of Strategic Communications for the university said that the statement sent from The Department of Student Housing would remain the university’s statement.

Use only the best parts of a quote: (good photo)

“Getting to not only serve with Denver as a committee member on SAA Pageants, but now as a co-director has been the best experience. Denver brings so much joy and excitement to everyone around him, and I am so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to serve with him. Anytime I am around him, he truly does bring out the best in me. He is so accepting and loving of everyone he meets, and I truly admire that in him. I can truly say my time here at the University of Mississippi would not have been the same without him,” Thomas said.

A story is better than no story…and a bad interview is better than no interview!!!



SHOW don’t TELL — Using words to paint a picture



The following are due before class time on Tuesday

1. Pitch for news feature story #4

(750 words, three sources, two media formats — due April 11)

This should be written on your class blog and you should be prepared to pitch it verbally in class.

Be sure to have a source wish-list filled out as well.

Useful for workshopping strong story ideas, sourcing

2. What Works for next Tuesday, April 2: Read and critique Wright Thompson’s “A Ride Down Paradise Road” 

Extra Credit:  Friday, April 5, at 11AM at the Overby Center, Senior ESPN Writer Wright Thompson will read from his new collection, “The Cost of These Dreams: Sports Stories and Other Serious Business” (Penguin).

The event marks the first in a series curated by Thompson in honor of renowned Mississippi writer and editor Willie Morris.

The reading will be followed by an informal reception – both are free and open to the public. Students are encouraged to attend.