Advice to a young scribe

February 13, 2009 at 11:23 pm Leave a comment

Thanks for the question. As in most things, in one’s choice of jobs, one should first ask, “What most interests me?” Maybe sports is the answer. Do an interview with the linebacker who broke his neck two years ago and will never play football again; or do an interview with the girls who didn’t make the cheerleading squad. Maybe you’re interested in school news. Write a general article about all of the candidates who didn’t win Senior Class President; write about the teacher in a neighboring school who won a prize or was caught smoking pot or having sex with a cheerleader. Maybe you’re interested in current events(with a student angle of course); write about the Clayton County schools losing its accreditation; write about the way that the Senate cut out schools from the national ‘stimulus bill’; write about how many kids take ADD or anti-depressant drugs. Maybe you’re interested in movies and TV or ‘lifestyle’ wtiting; same deal–choose some interesting topic, find out about it, and write a story.

Read a few newspapers before you give it a try. If it’s an essay, look at op-ed pieces, and work on a similar structure. If it’s a news story, use the ‘inverted triangle’ formula, with the lead containing the most important data and more analytical stuff, supporting ideas, at the end.

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