I had another busy day in the INC, but I am beginning to establish a routine for various duties, such as preparing “In the News” and monitoring the Tweet Deck. When I arrived, I discussed how the day was progressing with Erica.
During my shift, I was pleased to hear all the positive feedback about the goat story from earlier this week. Angela Skane, the writer of the story, came in during my shift last Thursday to discuss this pitch. As soon as I heard her describe the situation, I could not wait to see how the story turned out.
I think it made a difference that she came into the INC because we were able to talk about potential photo ideas and certain information she should ask about. This is why I hope to encourage other students to come into the INC. Email communication cannot compare to a face-to-face discussion. The coaching advice has also emphasized having contact with reporters during the editing process.
Logan had his first opportunity to do the “In the News” section today. I gave him an overview of what this job entailed, as well as showing him where he could find step-by-step directions on the Intranet.
He found a couple quality stories from various sources, including the Gainesville Sun and Tampa Bay Times. After reading the article by Chip Scanlan, I wanted to foster Logan’s independence. I told him I was available if he had any questions, but I also did not want to hover and critique him as he worked.
With “In the News,” I like how the editing students are able to get byline credit. He had to use his news judgments to answer questions, including “What’s the news?” as he searched the various websites, as well as “What’s the story?” to write the short descriptions.
The Quick Coaching tips encouraged coaching briefly and often. While Logan performs various tasks, I periodically ask how the work is progressing, but I also give him space. Every shift, he seems to become more assertive in what he is doing. Today, I noticed him coming out of his shell and voicing more of his opinion about whether ideas were newsworthy or if they needed more work. This included his input that a story about a college readiness program in Bronson contained no actual news. We discussed these views with Matt and chose to not publish the story.
I only spiked one of his links because it had been published by the news organization two days earlier. His descriptions were concise, but I made several edits to the sentence flow. Active voice is something we all struggle with, so I continue to look for where it can be used. For the Marco Rubio story, I chose to place the subject, Sen. Rubio, at the start of the sentence to allow for easier reading.
One of the web producers wrote a short story about a Lake City woman who turned herself in after an altercation with her husband turned violent Monday evening. In our discussion last night, we talked about the importance of attribution, especially in stories that are about accusations and arrests. The reporter originally did not link to the press release, but I thought it was important to show where we were getting our information.
I also monitored the email for story pitches. One student emailed me about the endangered Key Largo woodrat. At first, I responded that this did not seem like a good pitch for WUFT because it is outside our coverage area. However, when I returned to my apartment, I went back to the email and asked her several questions. If these woodrats have a role in the ecosystem, it could impact the entire state. Before writing off this story, I want to find out more details.
In addition, I worked with a reporter who had submitted a story about Ocala revamping its image to bring in more visitors. It had a good foundation, but it needed some additions. Tom Huang gave some good advice for editors critiquing a reporter’s work. I asked her a variety of questions and encouraged her to get another Ocala business source. Instead of telling her specific sources to contact, I told her to consider businesses that have a stake in attracting new customers from outside Ocala, such as area restaurants.
After making suggestions, I said she could make the changes to her story before sending in another draft. By allowing her to make the corrections, I hope she will learn what details to include in future stories she writes for WUFT and other publications.
Links to Work
Upon editing this story, I caught several silly AP style errors. This included a reference to “6 o’clock in the evening.” We have learned about how to write time in AP style since our first journalism courses, so I am disappointed that people are still making this error. In addition, the writer had inserted a comma in Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This is another error that could have been avoided by looking at a stylebook.
When I arrived for my shift, Jennifer was in the process of pitching this story. She had to leave the INC for class, but she returned to finish working. I was impressed by her tenacity, an important characteristic of any quality journalist, and her work ethic. She worked for a couple hours on answering various questions, including the number of beds at other area hospitals and statistics related to the Baker Act.
This is the story we discussed on the 6 p.m. news for the “Web Q&A.” This story fit well into the newscast because it also featured a segment about Florida’s trauma centers. I sent a Tweet out to bring this story to the attention of our followers.