Story structure basics

The following two book excerpts may shed some additional light on how to differentiate between straight news and feature stories.

Compare the different approaches of Version One (straight) and Version Two (feature).

Notice the Inverted Pyramid, the Martini Glass and the Kabob structures.

You’ll see that there are several other informative articles worth reviewing in these highly graphical excerpts about basic news writing. Feel free to dig in.


Grammar quiz and news gathering


  • Grammar quiz:
  1. Take the 50-question Grammar Mastery Test.
  2. When you’re done, click the Grade Quiz button at the bottom of the page and review your responses.
  3. Print out and closely study the Quiz Results page.
  4. Take the test again until you score 50/50 (aka 100%)
  5. Bring to class a printed copy (or screen grab) of the final score.

You’ll find that this test quiz will be a big help in the graded quiz on Thursday.

  • Electronic clip file
  1. Create an account on
  2. Follow the instructions for placing a bookmarklet on your Web browser’s bookmarks bar.
  3. Bookmark and tag a few sites (you can keep them private if you like).



All news gathering rests on three pillars: interviews, observation and background research:


Legal liability:


Class recap: shooting day! And tomorrow’s editing homework.

Bootcamp teams fanned out across the metropolitan area today aiming to shoot an array of video projects. Tomorrow, we edit!

Note: Prof. Olmsted has uploaded the PowerPoint used by Jan Schaffer, SOC’s Entrepreneur in Residence, in her presentation on the digital landscape. The PowerPoint can be found in the Content area of the course site on Blackboard.

Editing-related Homework: To prepare for tomorrow’s editing of your footage on Final Cut Pro X, it’s important for you to get acquainted in advance with interface basics. So please review the six clips cited below. They can all be found on As an AU student you have free access to Lynda tutorials. First log in with your school credentials at:

Then click to the Final Cut Pro X Essential Training tutorial. Study the following clips (the time in minutes and seconds follows the clip name):

  • Understanding the world of nonlinear editing 5m 2s
  • Taking a tour of the FCP X interface 8m 59s
  • Accessing additional tools 6m 23s
  • Performing video- and audio-only edits 3m 45s
  • Adjusting the audio level and channel configuration via the Inspector 8m 47s
  • Creating and adjusting titles 7m 18s