Story: Write an advance story on an upcoming event. Target your story to readers of the Daily Helmsman. I chose the food and wine festival in Memphis.
Remember: A well-written advance story makes readers feel like they’ve been to the event, even though the event hasn’t yet happened. Your story needs to give readers more insight and information than they would find on a Facebook page or an organization’s website.
Length: 400 words
Lead: Write a two-paragraph news summary lead. Each paragraph should be one sentence.
Sources: Include at least two sources, but you may have more than two. One source must be a super source. (A super source is an expert.)
Direct quotes: Include at least three direct quotes and one paraphrased quote.
Photos: File two photos in the dropbox with cutlines related to your advance story. For the advance story (only), you may use "stock" images or, if it's an annual event, photos from previous year's events. Be sure that the cutlines are accurate and representative of the photo. If you are taking your photos, you will need to take a number of photos in order to have two photos suitable for publication.
Headline: Include a headline with your story.
Writing Tips: Be sure to include:
Headliners for the event and information that will interest readers the most. For annual events, the information that is most important probably is the “what’s new this year.”
Background and history of the event.
For fundraisers, include fundraising goals.
How the event relates to national or international efforts (if it does). For instance, if you are writing about the local Race for the Cure, you would explain how the local race connects to the national organization.
Date, time, place, and expected attendance.
It is not necessary to include a lot of specific ticket information, as online stories link to appropriate websites and venues.
Use a news summary lead that includes the event’s “headliner” information. A news summary lead should be one sentence.
Most likely, the nut graph (or summary graph) will include some history of the event and how the event relates to the bigger picture.
Use the basic story structure of lead; second graph that adds detail to the lead; strong quote; nut graph; background; body of the story; and closer. A good way to close an advance story is with a direct quote.
Be accurate, concise and clear.
Make sure each paragraph contains only ONE idea and connects (like a train!) to the previous graph and the graph that follows.
Keep paragraphs short.
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