COM 351: Story assignment #1

Your first reporting assignment is to interview someone who has been in the news or is involved in current events, and write a story that sums up the most interesting things that your subject tells you. Before picking your subject, it may be helpful to review: What is news? News vs. features
Also useful are Pages 18-21 and Pages 68-75 in your textbook, Inside Reporting.
The assignment is due on Sept. 20, so that means you have 12 days to complete the assignment.

Story guidelines:

  • Please type your story, print it out and give me a copy of it by the start of class on Sept. 20.
  • Do not post your story to your blog yet. Wait until I grade it and give it back to you.
  • You are not allowed to interview friends, relatives or family members.
  • Your subject should live in Florida or be of interest to Florida readers.
  • You may conduct the interview in person or by phone or by email.
  • You must shoot or obtain a photograph of your subject.
  • Make sure your subject knows that your story will appear online for the world to see.
  • Your story must include your subject’s first and last name, job title or occupation, age and town of residence.
  • Your must talk to and quote at least two other human sources who are knowledgeable about your interview subject. These additional sources help boost the credibility of your story.

Tips on how to approach the story:

  • If you aren’t following the news now, get up to speed and immerse yourself in what’s going on in Florida.
  • Pick out someone who might have an interesting story to tell.
  • Find that person and conduct the interview.
  • When writing the story, put the newest and freshest material at the top of the story.
  • Give readers enough background to understand what you are writing about, but try to break new ground.
  • Find two other people to comment on – and dispute, in some cases – what your source tells you. So if your source tells you he rode aboard a UFO, you should find someone who will discuss the possibility that the voyage never happened.

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