Suggest material for teaching 'Basic News Writing'

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Re: Suggest material for teaching 'Basic News Writing'

Postby Formosa Fitness » 14 Apr 2012, 08:50

Baas Babelaas wrote:
Formosa Fitness wrote:The AP Guide in your second link is the best you'll ever find. When I worked at the papers many moons ago, I swore by it and had to guard it with my life. What makes it great is it's written by a veteran editor and he used actual examples of AP writing that got it right and many that got it wrong but went through anyway. Those examples made it gold.


FF, would it be suitable for a teacher like myself who's a novice to teaching News Writing? And would it provide suitable material in a step-by-step manner that would help in creating a course from scratch, with students fresh outta high school?


No, it wouldn't be suitable for that. It's for professional journalists to improve their craft.

For the level you're aiming at, Barron's "The Art of Styling Sentences," Strunk and White, and Arco's "How to Write Articles" might be better.
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Re: Suggest material for teaching 'Basic News Writing'

Postby Baas Babelaas » 14 Apr 2012, 10:28

Thanks - I'll look into those.
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Re: Suggest material for teaching 'Basic News Writing'

Postby PigBloodCake » 14 Apr 2012, 22:22

cfimages wrote:
Icon wrote:Please devote a week or two to photo captions. :pray:


In a nutshell, a photo caption should consist of

Who – who are the people in the picture.
Where – where is the event occurring.
When – when is the event (time/date)
What – what is happening
Why – why is it happening
How – how did it happen


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Re: Suggest material for teaching 'Basic News Writing'

Postby StuartCa » 14 Apr 2012, 23:35

elements of style is a basic grammar book. Excellent as it is and every writer should own a copy, it won't teach the art of journalism. I would make sure your students buy their own copy of eos (page 1 used to have it) and you have your own teaching mats.
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Re: Suggest material for teaching 'Basic News Writing'

Postby ironlady » 15 Apr 2012, 05:03

They already own grammar books up the yinyang. The problem is, they can't apply the grammar to write correct English sentences, let alone get their heads around what rhetorical elements belong in an English news story and which do not. Those are the two lines of attack that need to be covered, and frankly a semester- or year-long course in journalistic writing is unlikely to fix all the ingrained grammar issues they have anyway. IMO the best you can do is attack one specific (irritating) grammar issue each week/session, and pound away on the way of thinking that underlies English news writing (facts, linear thinking, topic sentences, supporting details, what conclusions may or may not be drawn from a certain set of facts or data, etc.)
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Re: Suggest material for teaching 'Basic News Writing'

Postby trubadour » 15 Apr 2012, 12:52

if my experience of teaching writing (at JH) is applicable [if I thought it wasn't I'd be elsewhere right now], teach TOP-DOWN. That is teach the form, break down the form into components and have the students reproduce the components in the given form. This is the most important (aside from general English ability) skill in writing. The bonuses of this approach are many - a big one is that the students will adapt it to their ability - the low levels might be able to copy and substitute (but they'll get it right) with a few improvisations while the higher levels will be able to get the drift and run with it. Teaching form is also very visual and hands-on as you highlight and replicate. Imitation and improvisation make powerful bedfellows. The catch is that you'll have to create (imitate, adapt) your own material as I'm pretty sure the link I'm about to post might not go down that well at uni level. Unless, they enjoy that kind of thing - which they might actually find amusing in an ironic way...


this was a great website for writing that is now mostly behind a paywall - I had to google like never before to unearth these lil babies.

http://www.writingfun.com/WFMOV/infrep.swf

http://www.writingfun.com/WFMOV/exposi.swf
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Re: Suggest material for teaching 'Basic News Writing'

Postby Baas Babelaas » 16 Apr 2012, 14:36

Thanks again for your replies.

I feel a bit overwhelmed.

I know I can teach a class of students. It's just about getting the course rightI
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Re: Suggest material for teaching 'Basic News Writing'

Postby ironlady » 16 Apr 2012, 20:42

This sort of course could easily take a few years to "tweak" into something that works fairly well. To add to the problem, the level(s) of your students will probably vary both within a group and between years. But I think the way you're analyzing the real problems will really go a long ways toward producing a viable model for instruction. :)
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Re: Suggest material for teaching 'Basic News Writing'

Postby lostinasia » 16 Apr 2012, 21:27

On level: have you actually seen much writing from students of this level or program yet? (I'm not sure what the IELTS numbers mean, or if that test includes writing.) If you don't know what their writing is already like, to be honest the specific planning you do now may turn out to be somewhat irrelevant, except of course for the proposal you need to submit and the usefulness of having the ideas in your head.

I've thrown countless curricula out the window once I've met students and ascertained their level (usually, but not always, lower than I anticipated). In Taiwan students have had almost NO English writing experience (this often proves true even with the 2nd and 3rd year English majors I've taught :doh: ), but I don't know what the deal is over there. Every "Basic X Writing" course I've taught has turned into "Very Basic Writing", with topics slightly tweaked to fit business or travel or whatever the nominal topic is. I've had very few classes that were actually at a high enough level to "specialize" in a particular kind of writing.

Good luck - these courses can be fun, but expect to substantially rewrite your curriculum between the first and second weeks.
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Re: Suggest material for teaching 'Basic News Writing'

Postby Baas Babelaas » 17 Apr 2012, 13:20

Good luck - these courses can be fun, but expect to substantially rewrite your curriculum between the first and second weeks.


Thanks. As per CFI I'm going to go gently into the course and start with photo captions. I'm well aware of the (lack of?) capabilities of students.

But I think it could be fun if I molded my course around them.
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