Sunday, October 26, 2014

Big Story Guidelines

How to Make Your “Big Story” Work

1) Limit the range of your story. The risk of thinking too small is slight. Most try to make it too big and end with superficiality or enough for a book. Subject your story to cause and effect thinking and that is the first step toward limiting your territory.

2) The statement of "main theme" is crucial. Some good ideas can unravel because they aren't focused. Express your idea in no more than two tight written sentences. Example: "Parking at USF" vs. "Some USF students who own cars think say parking problems on and around campus are causing them to get low grades in classes at certain times of day."

3) As you develop your theme, you are concentrating on two things: what you should put it; what you should omit.

Dimensions of the story

4) Time -- the importance of past and future as well as present. If the past amplifies understanding, the future can give the story a flavor of suspense and anticipation (meaning if you can legitimately invite your sources to speculate, do so).

5) Variety of sources -- use your official sources but full credibility, plus gritty reality, comes from going to people directly involved.

6) Accept the fact you can't be objective because the act of deciding what to use and what not to use limits objectivity. But you can be fair. You can look for both sides. You can be guided by the evidence, not by your prejudices. Let the facts and the events govern your attitude.

Planning & execution

7) History -- a) does the issue you're discussing have roots in the past? what are they? b) is it a clear break with the past? 3) is a continuation of the past? d) can a few brief historical details give your story interest and credibility? (check out local media)

8) Scope -- how widespread, intense and various is what you're talking about? * can this be defined by a number or can it be defined by a comment or observation? * what is the physical range of the phenomenon? * diversity & intensity -- in how many different ways is the thing likely to show itself? * is the development waxing or waning, spreading or constricting?

9) Perspective -- do other developments have anything to do with this one? Even if you limit a story to campus, don't ignore the larger society.

10) Reasons it's happening now! a) economic -- always follow the money b) social -- are changes in morals, habits or family life likely to be affecting the story? how? c) political/legal: are changes in laws, regulations or taxes affecting the story? d) psychological -- do ego, vengeance, wish fulfillment serve as driving forces in the story? does personality of the major actor(s) play a part in it?

11) Impacts, the consequences of a development -- a) who or what is likely to be helped by what takes place? how? what is the scope of that help? b) who or what is likely to be hurt? how? scope? c) what is the emotional response of those helped or hurt; ask them how they feel about it, not just what they think about it. (This is the classic utilitarian question.)

12) Countermoves,  the gathering of contrary forces -- a) who is likely to gripe the loudest? what are they saying? b) what actually is being done to offset, combat, change or deflect the impact of the phenomenon? scope? c) how is this effort working out? always give more weight to what is being done than being said; less talk, more action; fewer opinions, more facts

13) Futures, what could happen if the development is unchecked? a) are there formal studies or projections? b) what are the informal opinions of observers and actors; how do those actors on scene see their future? c) can the writer indicate what the future might hold, not flatly, of course, but as suggested by facts

SOURCES: a) wise men -- broad range of knowledge about the topic b) paper men -- paper documentation, work for entities that study and count things c) rabbi -- usually a knowledgeable person at or near the scene who gives a reporter helpful background and leads him to other sources   (Handling Sources: initial questions broad and non-threatening designed to build trust; gradually get more specific and pointed but always treat sources as something more than data banks DON"T TALK TOO MUCH)

Yet another useful article on interviewing

14) Organization -- a) tell the reader what you're up to; b) prove it; c) help the reader remember it
            * always look for conclusions and possible endings such as: circling back, remind reader of story's central message, perhaps using material that wouldn't work as a factual proof but would provide a symbol, an emotional response or observation; looking ahead, waht might be useless speculation in the body of the story could provide an evocative close; sometimes a simple summary is enough

15) Indexing: remember the six-step story guide: 1. history 2. scope 3. reasons 4. impacts 5. countermoves 6. futures   you could use these six numbers in your notebook (our pal Mr. Jon Franklin: just because you've done the outline, doesn't mean you have to use it

            * keep related materials together, scope for example
            * only exception is history, which can be spread throughout the story
            * try to isolate material from one source in one place, that is all the attributed testimony of one person all the events linked to specific person or place
            * important to start well but later order matters less
            * two structural principles: time line in which the body of the story is simple chonology; theme line, which ignores time and emphasizes those two or three facets being concentrated on (can sometimes be mixed)
            * you may digress -- but not for long (digressions include observationsm, explanations and points of instruction or analysis)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Business/Money PDF


Friday, October 17, 2014

Resources for Writing Business/Money Stories

A short one on the basics.

eHow keeps it simple.

How a press release sets the hook.

Many links from business

Ways college students waste money.

Ingrid's story about saving money on textbooks.

USA Today talks about how much we spend on weddings.

Politics and Money

A Firefighters union supplies a sample campaign fundraising projection and a sample campaign budget.

Here's a story more than two decades old from a college newspaper that tells how much it costs to run for city council. We read such stories to find suggestions about sources to interview and questions to ask.

Daily Texan on where faculty political contributions go.

Faculty at sister Jesuit institution get nailed by conservative campus news group.

Robertson does a search and finds his own name.

Startup costs calculator.

Ten hidden costs of running a business

Specifics on cost of making a single piece of art.

New York Times story cost of being an artist.

Searches related to cost of starting a business

Google search the cost of being gay.

Don't forget 990 forms, which all non-profits have to file. Here's one for Dancers' Group.


Search Results

  1. Search: How much does it cost to be an athlete

    The Boston Globe
    Feb 2, 2014 - Every elite winter athlete's financial situation is different. Training expenses, competition-related travel costs, and equipment prices vary, as ...Olympic dream can be costly for athletes - The Boston Globe
  2. The Cost Of Being An Olympic Athlete - Huffington Post

    The Huffington Post
    Aug 9, 2012 - And those who are just starting their Olympic careers can't even be ... Likemany Olympians, Flaim describes plenty of tough times, when he ...
  3. Athletic Scholarship Costs Don't Always Add Up for Hopeful ...
    6 days ago - Stand long enough on the sidelines of any youth sports tournament and youwill hear conversations about coaches, sports travel, and the cost ...
  4. SEC Schools Spend $163,931 Per Athlete, And Other Ways ...

    Jan 16, 2013 - The SEC's nearly $164,000 median cost per athlete is almost twice asmuch as the FBS average, and four-and-a-half times as much as the ...
  5. Athletics cost colleges, students millions - USA Today

    USA Today
    Sep 15, 2013 - Division I universities without football spent $39,201 per athlete, more than triple the average student spending. Nearly every university loses ...
  6. It Costs How Much to Raise an Olympic Athlete?! - iVillage

    Jul 25, 2012 - interviewed athletes to find out what the cost of ... Equipmentcosts $2,000, and your $100-an-hour coach will meet you at a ...
  7. How Well Are US Athletes Supported by the USOC? And 11 ...

    Sep 18, 2013 - So let's start with the athleteshow much of the USOC's expenses ... Here's a 2009-2011 USOC Athlete Advisory Council (AAC) chart showing the average... Colorado Springs CO, and Chula Vista CA) they cost around $23 ...
  8. Raising An Elite Athlete A Financial Challenge For Most ...

    Finding out how much it will cost to support an elite young athlete isn't easy. For instance, no one at the USTA could tell me the average family income for a ...
  9. The price of gold: Taking first place in Olympics could cost ...

    Fox News Channel
    Feb 8, 2014 - An athlete who wins gold at the 2014 Olympic Games under way in ... tax bracket into which an Olympian falls would decide how much he or ...
  10. Cost Of Being Paralympic Athlete - Business Insider

    Business Insider
    Jan 10, 2014 - BI: Does the money you make from skiing make up for that cost? ... The stories these athletes have really hit home with the average American.
  11. How Stadium Construction Costs Reached the Billions ...

    Multimedia Marketing Transforms High School Athletics To say the business of high school .... "A lot of times people quote numbers, and they're not pure construction costs- those ... "I think it speaks to the way Americans do business," he says.
  12. How much does it cost to send an athlete to the Olympics, like ...

    Aug 17, 2012 - This is a question that most on this board like to avoid - what is the realcost of this sport? Between admin, support, flights, insurance etc.
  13. How Much Do Olympic Athletes Earn? - Money Under 30

    Jan 1, 2014 - WAY overpaid.because of what athletes amke the average person can..... the NASA robot “Curiousity” cost BILLIONS,i dont get it because do ...
  14. One bad tweet can be costly to a student athlete

    Democrat and Chronicle
    Sep 12, 2014 - One bad tweet can be costly to a student athlete They have to be .... "The big things for kids is to see how many 'Likes' they can get so the more ...
  15. How Rising College Athletic Budgets Cost Taxpayers ...

    Jan 17, 2013 - Athletic departments spent three to six times more per athlete than colleges and universities spend educating the average individual student, ...
  16. The Costs Of College Athletics - Investopedia

    Here we look at the price some young athletes pay in pursuit of college ... So can a family expect to recoup those costs in the form of an NCAA scholarship?
  17. Ohio State Buckeyes Official Athletic Site - Tickets

    Ohio State Buckeyes
    The Ohio State Athletics Ticket Office does not maintain a waiting list for ... will be refunded their season ticket purchase price and their account will be marked inactive. ... Eligible to purchase 2 season football tickets at the public prices.
  18. How Much Does It Cost to Recruit a Star Athlete? – Data ...

    The Chronicle of Higher Education
    Jun 3, 2014 - It's hard to calculate exactly how much each of the programs spent per recruit because it's difficult to nail down how many athletes they recruited ...
  19. single game tickets - - The Official Athletic ...

    Wisconsin Badgers football
    Season ticket holders save $105 per season ticket compared to the total cost of single ... Single game ticket prices vary by game and are $45 for Western Illinois and ... The Wisconsin Athletic Department will allow one lap child without charge ...
  20. Swimming South Africa Will Pay Travel Costs For All ...

    Swimming World Magazine
    Jun 16, 2014 - JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, June 16. LESS than a week after informing the six U.S.-based athletes on the Commonwealth Games squad ...

Here's a whole PowerPoint on writing business stories for online.