If You Want People To Care About Your Writing, You Need A Good Story First

As a journalist, when you put your work out there for the world to see, you obviously want the world to care. Yet, in order for people to care about your story, you need to have one worth caring about to begin with.

This is what Mark Blaine discusses in the second chapter of his book, The Digital Reporter’s Notebook. With the chapter titled, ‘Why Do I Care?’, Blaine gets to the nitty gritty of writing stories that people will actually care to read. He ultimately says that stories need three things: Quality, Novelty, and Usefulness. Readers should be getting a story that is reliable with multiple trustworthy sources, contains new information, and this information could actually be used to help them.

Once a story has these three main components and the assembly of it has been decided, then it is time to develop the story further. You have the information — the facts, quotes, etc. — according to Blaine, this is where the story truly comes alive because you add context to bring everything together. The context of the story allows the reader to develop empathy for the “characters” in the story. This makes your story even richer and keeps the reader intrigued about the topic of your story.

Blaine ends his discussion by encouraging writers to reach out to their audience and get feedback in order to grow as a writer. He calls it an “on-the-fly focus group”, which is something all budding and veteran journalists can learn to do.

Opening Image: Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

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Maps, Colors & More of the 2017 French Presidential Election – Critique of Data Story

With the anticipation of the results of the French presidential election in full swing, NY Times used maps and graphs to help readers understand the results thus far. How did they do? Well, let’s take a look.

In an article titled, “How the Election Split France”, readers get a brief description as to what the first round of voting results are with pictures of the candidates and their poll ratings provided, followed by two maps of France, each demonstrating the areas of support for the top two candidates: Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Using blue to represent Macron and red for Le Pen, the illustrator used lighter shades to represent less support and a darker shade for greater support. The maps provide enough information to show where each candidate received more support since it is obvious there was greater support based on the darker color of that specific area.

The article also includes a map of France where a color represents each of the candidates. However, this map can be interpreted incorrectly because the map shows a significantly greater amount of salmon (representing Le Pen) than baby blue (representing Macron), yet Macron received a greater percentage (24.0% compared to Le Pen’s 21.3%). Also, the map includes a color for Jean Lassalle and not Benoît Hamon, even though they mention Hamon in the article and not Lassalle.

The final component of the article focuses on how neither the Socialist or Republican party will win the election this year and then using a graph to show that between the 2012 and 2017 elections, there was an influx in support of “Other parties”.

Overall, the article did a decent job in displaying the results of the election. I thought the colors were helpful in the first graphic, but not as effective in the second graphic since the colors were misleading to the results and there was some confusion involving the candidates.

Yet, the reader can takeaway from the article that this election is close and a game changer.

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Christiana Mangiapane – Video Story

In a world full of stress and chaos, some find their outlet through dance and some of these people go by the name of Christiana Mangiapane.

Since she was two years old, Christiana has embraced this art, particularly through ballet, but enjoys tap as well. Not only is she a dancer, but her two younger sisters, Victoria and Arianna, are dancers as well, where they take after their mother, who danced her entire life.

Dancing serves as a stress reliever for Christiana, where no matter how hard she tries, she knows that she will eventually achieve her goals through dance because she is just that passionate about it.

For years to come, Christiana says that she will always keep dance as a part of her life, even encouraging her future children one day to follow the same path she did.

To see the interview and Christiana’s beautiful dancing, click below.

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Robots Deliver Food Now? – Video Story

With so many videos on the Internet, it is difficult for some viewers to find actual news stories on Facebook. However, with BuzzFeed News’ ability to captivate their audience through their videos, it comes as no surprise that when needing to write about a non-broadcast video story from a news site, one would go to BuzzFeed News.

One of their more recent videos, titled This Robot is ACTUALLY Delivering Food in California, has received over 143k views in less than 24 hours since its upload.

 

How come a video like this has received so many views? For starters, the topic is quite intriguing considering the idea of robots delivering food seems impossible, but the way BuzzFeed News puts together the video enables the viewer to stay and watch the entire two minutes and 17 seconds.

The first shot, a man sitting on a bench as a robot rolls down the sidewalk followed by the man trying to steal the robot, but failing to do so. The video then cuts to the man saying “Robot – 1 Human – 0” which leads the viewer to think: Well, what’s going to happen next? BuzzFeed News then provides more information through text on the screen as the viewer watches a variety of shots of the robot rolling around Los Angeles, enabling the viewer to visualize how the robot would actually work. The interview with the associate of Starship Technologies also adds an intriguing perspective to the video because the viewer can learn about the brains behind this concept. Plus, they keep the story upbeat and fun with the techno music that plays in the background.

Through the use of text as well as a variety of up close, medium and over-the-shoulder shots, BuzzFeed News provides the audience an insight as to how cool it would be to have robots delivering our food. Now, where do I sign up?

 

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