Just don’t do bad.

                    To me ethics and morals are the same thing.  If you feel bad about either you are most likely doing bad.  Some times you have to do things others think are ethically wrong, but how does it feel? Are you hurting anyone? Are you creating a bad or untruthful situation? Like I say it should not feel bad to do something.  We, being in a journalistic profession, constantly hear about being truthful and honest so we know we should not mess up.

                    Ethics is not just in writing it is in your life, but you could mess up and think you are doing right and you really are doing something wrong.  But you learn from you mistakes and you correct them (hopefully you do not get fired from your job).  If you question yourself ask someone you really trust or admire them for the honesty and truthfulness.

                   The worst thing you could do is just make stuff up, and unfortunately that happens a lot– thanks to the internet and people loving to blog about their opinions and others taking it seriously.  You now, as a writer, have a moral obligation to not fool your readers.  You want to gain their trust and you should never lead them into a lie.

                    If you writing seems like it would be better because of “lies” just look at the words you are using try to create a better story with better words– not false words just more exciting words.

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Outlines…. the death of me.

I have, unfortunately, received major deductions from final grades from not doing an outline.  I hate outlines.  I write like I speak and I do not speak in outline form.  I honestly can’t stress how much I dislike outlines.  I have never found them helpful, and they actually confuse me more.  I take a very liberal approach to writing and it consists of my throwing it together and then reviewing it after the fact– so honestly I could possibly benefit from an outline, but I sincerely doubt I’ll enjoy it. 

I understand the pro of outlines, but they are certainly more of a con for me than anything.  I never really organize my paper until after the paper is written on paper.  I feel like maybe we were so forced to do outlines so much that now I just hate them.  I know writers should be more organized than we usually are, but I just feel better if I don’t have to do an outline. Editors as said in the book would probably like an outline to see how we have organized our thoughts but until the I will stick with my writing style. I also understand the “you will need, most likely, more than one edit of a draft,” I recently edited a story about 5 times and I sent it back and forth to people who were helping me edit. My best draft is never my first and is usually never my second. There is always something else I want to add.

Lead them away from the zombies.

The only thing I know for sure is how to create a lead. I could write you any type of lead any type of way. I mean we have only been practicing writing leads since we began our education here. If you leave this school without knowing how to create a lead then that is on you as we have basically been brainwashed with leads.I love that Leading the Way was not really teaching new leads, but offering tips on how to create fantastic leads. It is time to stop learning new leads and time to start making our leads catch our readers attention. I can not tell you how many leads I have read from my local news station that makes me want to scream. Leads are one of the most important parts of the story. A terrible lead can make a reader run faster than if they had a herd of Walkers chasing after them. Your lead has to be the best thing you have ever written or you can forget about your reader even considering finishing your story. Trust me if the lead is awful I just cannot go on with the story.
Writers should also learn to speak simply to their readers. Do not pretend that your readers are stupid, but do not think they have the same vocabulary as you do. Your job is to make a story interesting, informing, or entertaining. Do not confuse your readers, because you enjoy big words. No, bad. If you can read your paper without going, “oh yeah I am a genius,” then your reader will probably enjoy your paper.

P.S. They should teach continuing education classes for journalist in how to perfect the lead.

Finding where to begin

I seem to get lost in my own mind at times. When I begin to think where should I start? How should I start? My brain begins to feel jumbled and I just can not seem to focus on anything, but my fear that I will never be able to begin my paper. This reading has showed me that this is how many writers feel when they begin. I could not help to think that it was just me and that I would never be better. But sometimes you have to just “jump in” sometimes just starting to write.. just whatever you are thinking is how to begin.

I have to give my brain a kick start. If I begin typing I know that eventually I will write something that I love and I will find my beginning, middle, and end. I love to talk, I’m good at impromptu speaking and I’m good at getting people to believe what I am saying. So at times I treat my papers as an audience. I speak out loud and whatever I say I type. It leads my teachers to say, “You have an excellent conversational tone.” Little to they know that is all I have. I have no problem beginning to speak but I just can not seem to start writing. I have found this to be best for me. I usually have to edit my papers a lot, but I eventually get where I want to be in my writing and I begin to feel as if I have control over my thoughts and my brain.

Reviewing and Commentary without being mean.

I hate reviews. I find reviews to usually be mean and unnecessary and I think it sad that now anyone can write a review on anything and others will take them seriously. Review writing is something I do not take lightly and I think if you are to biased against a company, movie, person, or whatever you are reviewing your review is skewed and you should immediately stop writing.

Words are fueled by passion and many people do not understand just what the damage could be if you give a review and it is written from one experience you, personally, had that no one has experienced before. The internet is a cesspool of negative reviews and people who are just trying to destroy others hard work. I seldom read reviews as I like to have my own opinion on my feelings toward things. If I have already tried something I will find myself reading a review to see how others felt about it and if we share similar feeling, but I would never use a review to create my own opinion on anything.

Any-who.. my rant on reviews is over. So about the chapter… I loved the outline and the advice on how to write a review. It helps when you can see a structure and see how others write before you begin. It is a stress reliever to have a starting point set up by past writers.

Feature Writing, again.

This reading really hit the nail on the head with a reason why I am not a fan of pure news writing.  I find it intrusive and it lacks a personal feel.  It is exactly like getting the information from someone who is only interested in facts and the details.  There is no flow that makes me go, “Oh this person really cared about the story,” it is always some reporter wanting to get the information first—even if that means the information is not correct.

 

I keep saying, more like typing, this but the more I read about features the more I begin to love them.  They have more a sense of conversation and feeling in them than plain news articles.   They are like the example used in the book “humble” they step outside the fast paced world and take a look at a full story—slowly. 

 

Feature stories give readers a chance to breath and relax.  It is mainly about something that could be entertaining or informative, but it is writing sort of like a novel or a short story.  There are facts and fact checking but they are not delivered in the hard style that news stories can be.

 

I love the idea of just observing, but being present in a life different that yours.  It makes for a better story when a write gets in the middle and lives what they are writing (unless of course it is about crime that would be bad).  Writers should learn to just basically become one with their stories and not to look at it as an outside entity.

Feature Writing Part 4.

Well there it is… it is now official that I will never be able to avoid research.  Research is one of my least favorite things to do, and that is being compared to taxes and the dentist.  When you consider my Public Relations major and how much research goes into that you may wonder, “Why are you doing this?” The answer is simple– research is all around us and we do it every day.  What do you want for lunch? Let’s search the menu for options and idea.  When you consider the magnitude of research done daily then it becomes a non-daunting idea. 

When you think about research as a separate and scary thing it’s this giant monster glaring at you waiting to attack just so you can’t get what you need to get done.  Think of research like a tiny kitten that you want and you need not only to make you have but to make you secure and comforted. 

Observations are research.  Literally everything you do is research! You generate ideas from observing you are researching. You cannot avoid it! It is everywhere, and we are not even conscience to it.   The amount of research you would need to do on a topic you know nothing about is even comparable to the amount of research you would have to do on a paper about a MCJ 301 class and how it is to be enrolled in that class.

Remember research is your cute kitty companion that you should love and nurture and once you have bought it is yours and it is now non-avoidable.