JMM108 Assignment #2: Hard News Story

I don’t know how to handle this Communications question and need guidance.

This is a major class assignment that encourages students to look at the facts of a news story, analyze the available material, and write the story in the appropriate news format. The final story should be ready for publishing with minimal editing.

Format

This assignment should be:

Between 300350 words long (minimum 300 words, no exceptions)

Typed and double-spaced

in 12-point Times New Roman font

printed and stapled

The assignment must have a cover page, which must include:

the name of the course

the name of the instructor

your name

the assignment’s title

the date of submission

the number of words in your story

Attention should be paid to:

grammar and punctuation

accuracy, clarity, and organization

proper use of inverted pyramid format and proper use of AP style

Due Date and Time

The Hard News Story is due on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, at the beginning of class.Deadline is firm and enforced. To get full credit for the assignment, this is the latest it may be turned in. Even five minutes past the deadline counts as being late. You will lose five points if your story is turned in late during our class time. You will lose two points if you turn in a story without a cover sheet. Stories turned in after the class ends are considered a day late.

Stories must be printed and handed in; I will not accept any stories by email. If your story isn’t ready on Feb. 21 and you turn it in at the next class (Feb. 24), you will only earn half-credit (maximum of 25 points instead of 50). No stories will be accepted after Feb. 21. Stories turned in one or more days late are not eligible for rewrites.

You will be graded on many areas including grammar, format, use of AP style, etc. Because accuracy is crucial in mass media writing, you will lose 10 points for every factual error.

Guidelines

Write an inverted pyramid news story using information from the quotes provided; pretend that you interviewed these people for the story, and this is what they told you. You don’t have to use all the information, only what you think is best. Make sure you have all the elements of a news story, including a headline, strong lead, attribution, and both direct and indirect quotes. Do not make up any facts and/or quotes; work only with the information provided. IMPORTANT: Unless you’re using a direct quote, you must put the material into your own words. Do not copy and paste.

Quote from Pensacola Fire Chief Randy Crane:

“This is what we know so far. At around 11 p.m. last night, a fire broke out at a nightclub called Soundwave. It’s one of Pensacola’s most popular spots and it gets really crowded. It opened in 2008 and never had any trouble until last night. It looks like the fire was caused by the club’s new speaker system. We think one speaker overheated and set the wall on fire, then the whole place went up. Maybe it was faulty wiring or maybe the speaker was defective, we don’t know yet. We won’t know for sure until we finish the investigation. We also need to make sure the work was done with permits, and by a licensed crew. Anyway, after the fire broke out, people started rushing for the exits and trampling each other. We know that 27 people were sent to the hospital and another 13 were treated at the scene and then released. Two people died from smoke inhalation and some of the injuries were caused by the same thing. Other people got hurt as they were fighting to get out of the place. The two victims who died were found near the back of the club. We’re not sure why they didn’t use the rear exit. Maybe it wasn’t marked clearly, or maybe they couldn’t see it because of the smoke. Once the fire got going, that place would’ve been filled with it.”

Quote from Officer Keisha Watson of the Pensacola Police Department:

Two young people were killed here last night. One was David Grier, who was 21 years old and went to the University of Florida. The other was a woman from Atlanta named Jennifer Oxley. She was 25 and was here on vacation. I’ll tell you what, I’ve never…what happened here last night was just a nightmare, the kind of thing everybody dreads. But as bad as it was, it could have been a lot worse. Based on what we know and what we’ll probably find out later, we could have easily been burying dozens of victims instead of two. Seriously, a lot of people got hurt when they were running out, but at least they did get out.

Quote from Laura Finney, a student from Mobile, Alabama:

This is…it’s just…I still can’t…I can’t believe this. My friends brought me here for my birthday. We were having a blast, and then the whole place…I mean, everything just went crazy. People were choking, they were coughing from the smoke, and then everybody’s stepping all over each other, trying to get out the front door, and just smashing into each other. One of my friends broke her wrist and another one has a broken nose and bruises all over her face. It was, I mean, it looked like a million people trying to squeeze through one door at the same time. It was just insane.


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