I teach processes more than anything.
Today, I sent students an assignment that involves them taking the first step toward developing and writing a sports feature. Along with observation and interviews, research is essential — perhaps even more so in the germination process.
Continue reading “We need to constantly emphasize the process for developing stories”
Co-wrote an article with friend and colleague Brian Poulter that has been published in the current issue of Teaching Journalism & Mass Communication. This evolved from a workshop we presented at several conferences on ways to improve writing skills by employing photographic approaches. Check it out.
As you develop features and profiles, don’t forget to focus on conflict, a driving force in all storytelling. A profile story without conflict is typically as exciting to read as someone’s resume. Don’t just cite someone’s accomplishments and stats, sprinkled with some general comments. Instead, tell stories that involve your characters, scenes, plots, and conflict. That means you’ll need to dig through articles, observe locations, and interview as many people as possible in order to find a compelling angle. During interviews, keep talking until you find a major conflict. Once this person starts talking, listen for visual markers and other specific details that will enable you to paint the story more clearly. If this information is not supplied, ask for it – “What was the weather like?” “Where were you standing?” “Describe the trail you ran on.” “What did the heat feel like?” There are a million ways to write a profile, or feature, but there is really one primary factor that drives these stories – conflict. So go find it. Your readers will be most thankful.