Journalism paper-text story

Writing

journalism

UofM

Question Description

Text Story

What: A 450-word text story about a person who has experienced a “Turning Point” related to a job, hobby or passion.

Where: Submit as a Word doc to Canvas

Why:

  • To learn to identify and interview a compelling story subject
  • To practice clear, concise and neutral writing
  • To select the most interesting and relevant material from a wider pool of information
  • To introduce the present-past-future story structure
  • To compile your material into a clear and compelling story with tension, resolution and narrative arc

What to do:

  • Find a person who has experienced a turning point in his or her life related to a job, hobby or passion. This can be someone in your home, or someone you can speak to by phone or video chat.
  • Make sure that it’s a true turning point in their life rather than just something that happened.
  • Set up one or more interviews with your subject and talk with him or her about the experience.
  • Interview one other person who can speak to your subject’s experience. That might be someone who was there during the turning point, someone who knows the person now, etc. You can do this by phone or over video chat.
  • Compile your notes into a 450-word story about that turning point. Use the present-past-future story structure discussed in class.
    • Note: You must include at least two quotes: one from each subject. Format them the same way you did in your Observation Report.
  • Put the sentence or paragraph that talks about the actual turning point in italics to make it very clear to the reader.
  • Write the whole story in the past tense.
  • Name your files with your last name, first name and assignment.

Example: SmithJane_TurningPoint.doc

Tips:

  • Make sure you have ample access to your subject in case you need to follow up with him or her.
  • Go over the basics of who, what, when, where, why and how in the interview, but also think about how to make this person come alive on the page. Gather details, anecdotes and examples to make things more interesting.
  • Make a list of questions before the interview, but don’t be afraid to veer off the script. It makes the interview feel more natural and results in better material.
  • Ask questions about who your subject is as a person rather than his or her opinion to ensure that you get the material you need.
  • Remember that this is a story rather than just a collection of facts. Pay attention to structure and narrative arc to make it compelling

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