24-hour pitch

24-hour pitch

THE PITCH — PREPARATION

 

Once you’ve found an event, get it OK’d by me. Once you have the OK to Turn it in via email.cover the event, write your pitch. Some of this information will become a part of your 24-hour article. For example, the pitch AND the article will include information on where and when the meeting was held.

Steps to writing a pitch:

  • How: The best coverage starts with good research. Start by checking local newspaper archives for coverage of past meetings. Also check for minutes of the past meetings. Professional Custom Writing Services from the Experts!
  • What: Meeting info: Find meeting information – check time, location, official name of organization/board/commission meeting. If anything is unclear, call the organization and ask for information.
  • Why: Research the responsibilities of the organization/governing board meeting. For example, Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission has three duties.
  • Who: Officials: Research who is on the board, how long they’ve served, any topics he/she has put forth or opposed. Use newspaper archives and online resources.
  • What: Agenda: Get the agenda for the meeting, if possible. Research the various topics on the agenda in newspaper archives AND online. If necessary, call the organization or officials and ask for clarification.

 

 

 24-hour Story Assignment (adapted from Brian Brooks’ assignment)

This assignment has three parts:

— Choosing an event and getting it OK’ed;

— Submitting a pitch for a quiz grade (see the Canvas tab for 24-Hour Pitch);

— Covering and submitting the event within 24-hour of the end of the event (See the Canvas tab for 24-hour story). This involves a two-step process:

  1. It must be turned in at the next class session following the event typed and double-spaced, with complete source sheets attached.
  2. It must be submitted to Canvas – WITHOUT the source sheet — within 24 hours of the end of the event. Then, bring a hard copy to the next class.

Chapter 15 in News Reporting and Writing discusses how reporters prepare for and write about scheduled news events — speeches, governmental meetings and news conferences. Your 24-hour story may be one of these categories. In either case, the authors’ advice about preparation is relevant.

Find an event occurring sometime between now and Tuesday, Oct. 16, that you would like to cover and feel confident you can write a story about within 24 hours of the event’s conclusion. Here’s the submission spot. You may cover a student government meeting or a visiting speaker’s lecture, but you may not cover anything for which you would have a conflict of interest (besides a Journalism School event).

Email me your plans for my OK.

Be sure to turn in your story to Canvas within 24 hours of the event’s conclusion.

Here’s the 24-hour grading rubric I will use.

The last possible time to submit a story is 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17.  Fair warning: The grading rubric gets much tougher Oct. 15. Your story should be between 500 and 1,000 words, typed and double-spaced pages, with complete source sheets. Bring a hard copy to the next class. If you go over 1,000 words, you will be penalized.

Here’s a PowerPoint with a checklist,  and here are some additional pointers:

24-hour Stories Assignment Sheet

The 24-hour story includes these four steps:

  1. Get an event/meeting OK’d via email.
  2. Pitch at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. This can be submitted via email.
  3. Submit to Canvas coverage of the meeting or event within 24 hours of the end of the meeting or event. The Canvas submission should not include a sources sheet.
  4. Submit a hard copy of the article at the next class session WITH a source sheet for every source quoted in the article.

 

HOW TO WRITE A 24-HOUR EVENT/SPEECH STORY:

  1. Lead – This should include WHAT was said or done, not what was spoken about.
  2. Quote/follow up
  3. Nut graph
  4. The Rest

Further instructions:

http://journalism-education.cubreporters.org/2010/08/how-to-cover-speeches.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

MEETING EXAMPLES:

http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/local/councilman-exits-roll-cart-forum-calls-it-a-joke/article_32cd01d7-3d30-54a9-a3ac-c8084ef2c41f.html?comments=focus

http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/local/farming-food-experts-discuss-world-hunger-at-summit/article_24e3b075-027c-5b38-9f8d-12a48e8224ac.html?_dc=687825601780.7871 (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/education/cps-administrators-discuss-assessment-data-with-board/article_546a6112-e837-5ca3-837a-53252ce49061.html

 

EVENT EXAMPLES:

http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/local/charity-chili-cookoff-raises-record-k-for-boys-and-girls/article_21c81252-f993-50ef-9941-d2eb5a08d8ef.html

STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL 24-HOUR ARTICLE 

  1. CHOOSE AN EVENT

The event should be something that is of interest to readers in the community of Columbia/mid-Missouri. It should be an event open to the public such as a speech, lecture or a governmental meeting such as the Columbia City Council meeting or committee meetings, Columbia Public Schools Board meeting or the Boone County Commission meetings.

Surprise! MU events are OK for this but remember, there are also speeches, lectures and events at Stephens and Columbia colleges.

NOTE: You cannot cover something for which you would have a conflict of interest such as an event sponsored by or at an organization to which you belong.

The event can be your choice, but must be OK’d by me.

Public meeting information:

Columbia City Council, commission and board meetings

http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Council/Commissions/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

See the calendar of meetings here:

https://www.como.gov/CMS/webcal/

Columbia Public Schools

Board Meetings

https://www.cpsk12.org/Page/192

Boone County Commission

https://www.showmeboone.com/commission/meetings/

  1. THE PITCH — PREPARATION

DUE: The pitch is due 24 hours prior to the event and counts for a quiz grade.

Once you’ve found an event, get it OK’d by me. Once you have the OK to cover the event, write your pitch. Some of this information will become a part of your 24-hour article. For example, the pitch AND the article will include information on where and when the meeting was held.

Steps to writing a pitch:

  • How: The best coverage starts with good research. Start by checking local newspaper archives for coverage of past meetings. Also check for minutes of the past meetings.
  • What: Meeting info: Find meeting information – check time, location, the official name of organization/board/commission meeting. If anything is unclear, call the organization and ask for information.
  • Why: Research the responsibilities of the organization/governing board meeting. For example, Columbia’s Historic Preservation Commission has three duties.
  • Who: Officials: Research who is on the board, how long they’ve served, any topics he/she has put forth or opposed. Use newspaper archives and online resources.
  • What: Agenda: Get the agenda for the meeting, if possible. Research the various topics on the agenda in newspaper archives AND online. If necessary, call the organization or officials and ask for clarification.
  1. AT THE MEETING
  • How, who, why: Get there early. Get copies of any handouts. Introduce yourself and talk to officials there and to anyone from the public. Why are they there? Is there a particular topic they plan on raising at the meeting.
  • How and who: During the meeting. Count who is attending. Listen and watch, not just those holding the meeting but anyone in attendance.
  • What, who, how: Take notes, including notes on what you’ll need to follow up on after the meeting.
  • If someone leaves early after an emotional outburst, you may want to go out and catch up with him or her and ask for contact information so you can talk to her or him later, and so you can go back to the meeting so you don’t miss anything.
  1. AFTER THE MEETING
  • Double check: Check on anything you did not understand. Was there a term you haven’t heard before? An amendment you don’t know about? A regulation or situation you didn’t learn about in your research? Don’t be afraid of telling someone you do not know what her or she was talking about. DO NOT RELY on looking it up when you get back to the office.
  • Follow up: Try to get telephone numbers or emails so you can check back later in case you realize as you write that you missed an important piece of information. Make sure you ask how late you can contact them or when they would be available for follow up.
  • Reaction: If appropriate to the topic, ask what meeting officials and those attending expect to have happen later, what they wished had happened, etc. Reach out to people beyond the officials. Find out what real people think as well as those in positions of power.
  1. WRITE THE STORY
  • Put the news in the lead – what happened or what was said. Never start the lead with “A meeting was held …” Start with the most important thing that was said – not that a group met. Remember the goldfish. You have six seconds to catch a reader’s interest.
  • Think about what a reader wants to know. Did the board/group vote? Did the board or group discuss something a reader is concerned about? Rarely, if ever, is a chronological rendition a good approach.
  • What’s the most important thing that was decided/discussed at the meeting?
  • As a journalist, it is your job to be critical and analytical, so you decide what is most important while taking readers’/viewers’/listeners’ concerns into consideration. Remember your target market.
  • Watch out for libel issues. If someone declares something potentially libelous about someone, you cannot simply print that EXCEPT in the case of privilege. (NRW p. 448)

FINAL TIPS:

  1. Remember, you can always ask a classmate or friend to read the final product.
  2. Reading your own work out loud will help you self edit and find any mistakes that might have missed when you read it over.
  3. If you are uncertain of anything, review Chapter 15 in News Reporting and Writing. It discusses exactly how reporters prepare for and write about scheduled news events — speeches, governmental meetings and news conferences.

 

 

  1. The lead should include the most important thing that happened or was said. New reporters often waste the leads of their stories, particularly those stories about a scheduled event — a speech, meeting or news conference.

A bad but all too common lead tells the reader: A meeting was held. This lead tells the reader little more than the reader would have known before the event took place. Council meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of the month as they have been for decades. That the council met last night can hardly be news.

  1. Another common shortcoming to avoid is a weak news story–too little reporting supporting the writing or a story about the obvious rather than the unusual. A test for the effectiveness of the 24-hour story is the news value packed into the lead. When the lead stands alone, is there a good, obvious piece of news there? If yes, one will probably produce a good story. If the lead is weak, the story probably will be poor.
  2. Make sure you have at least three sources in your news article. A third difficulty you may encounter in this assignment is the availability of news sources. Of course, that is a continuing problem in all of daily journalism. The reporter just finds other sources for the story or finds other angles to write about. You may need to get to the event early and stay afterward to talk to other sources for the story. Or you may want to call and interview people about the event prior to it so you can have context and background for your reporting. Remember: Even if you are covering a speech, one source is not sufficient. You’ll need at least three,and preferably those three will have different perspectives on the event. Also, if you’re covering a speech or governmental meeting, be sure to include information about the audience: Who’s there? How many people? If you do not have that information, your story will need more reporting and will not earn more than a C+.

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