Newspaper Assignment

Newspaper Story Assignment

Newspaper stories are the backbone of how the media have delivered news for a long time.  Sometimes, how the story is told is often the true measure of how successful that story will or will not be.  Unfortunately, the newspaper industry has several guidelines news-writers/reporters are supposed to follow.  For the most part, those guidelines are dictated by what is known as the AP Stylebook.  This stylebook and its guidelines are sometimes difficult to learn; but, over time, these guidelines can be mastered with practice.  You are going to write a news-story with one of the more popular styles of news-writing that is recommended by this AP Stylebook.  This particular style (and the style you will be required to write in) is called the inverted-pyramid style of writing/reporting (the inverted-pyramid style of writing/reporting is described in more detail within the “Helpful Hints” section of this page). For more information, visit

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We probably all have read a newspaper at some point in time.  Maybe at some point you have wanted to be a journalist; well, here’s your chance.  You will write a print journalism news-story for this assignment with some information that will be given to you below.  You are to write this story as if you have done investigation (as if you were the investigative reporter); and, remember, the information below is what you have found out through your investigation.  You are required to utilize the following information to write a news-story (that is, take the following information and create your story):

This is some of what you found during your investigation..The following information is from a police officer by the name of John Stanton (all of this information is from his filed report):
Michael Jenson was arrested for drunk driving and for running into an elementary school’s playground.
The accident happened in a school zone during school hours.
The school was Diane Winborn Elementary School‎.
The vehicle was traveling east on Prince George Lane when the driver literally drove off the road and into the school yard.
The silver vehicle was a Chevy Silverado.
The accident happened this morning at 9:30 a.m.
The truck has been impounded.
The truck was traveling approximately 55 mph in a 20 mph school speed zone.
Michael has been charged with a DUI (received citation).
Michael has been charged with speeding in a school zone (received citation).
Michael has been charged with reckless driving in a school zone (received citation).
Other information you found in your investigation:
Nobody was hurt from the accident.
The vehicle struck a swing set.
Stanton said: “We were very fortunate to not have anyone hurt during this freak accident.”
Jenson’s bail has been set at $3,000.
If convicted, Jenson could face up to five years imprisonment or up to a $75,000 fine.
A teacher form the school witnessed the accident.
The teacher’s name is Michelle Fogerty (the witness).
Fogerty said: “If it wasn’t for that swing set, he probably would have driven right into a classroom.  I guess the swing set literally saved some kids’ lives today.”
Fogerty called 911.
A school official, Bob Mitchel (Assistant Principal),  mentioned with a smile: “We’re gonna’ have to rebuild that swing in the exact same place.”
Helpful Hints:

When we write a news-story, we try to tell the story in present tense.
Most stories are written in the inverted-pyramid style of reporting (see the diagram for clarification/help).  Try to write your story in this style (you will not be penalized if you are unable to successfully write your news-story in this style).
You will have to decide what the “more important information” is and what the “not so important information” is.  Consequently, you probably would want to write this news-story by keeping the “main information you found in your investigation” (which is listed above) as the top element of the inverted-pyramid style of reporting (that is, the “most important, newsworthy, or dramatic information”).  See the diagram for more information.
Be as accurate as possible.
Be objective, and do not be opinionated.
You will want to check out the following sites before you start writing to get an idea how journalists have to virtually write an everyday basis (the links include tips on lead writing, writing in AP Style, and writing in inverted pyramid format): (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)
The following is an overall model breakdown of the inverted-pyramid (your story should definitely include this format):
Model of The Inverted-Pyramid Style of Reporting
Try and incorporate the aforementioned ideas in mind when writing your story as best you can (this is a virtual crash-course in writing; so, I do not expect everyone to have perfect writing as a journalist for this assignment).  You are required to write a news-story about the information listed above.  for this story (just make sure you tell the story and include the important details of the story keeping writing tips in mind). You are writing this story as if you are the investigative journalist who has been assigned to it.


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