Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Let's Rewrite That Story

I don't often do this, but let's rewrite a student story put online. First off, good job GradyNewsource getting the breaking news online, especially with a pic. It's not a huge story with mostly scrapes from a bus, but that's OK. First off, here's the story. It's about an accident on UGA's east campus. Skim it first and then come back here and let's take a coupla grafs, see if we can improve on them.

The Lede
Earlier today, around 12:30 p.m., a University of Georgia East Campus Express bus hit a student riding her bike on East Campus Road.
Rarely if ever start with the day/time element of a story, and don't use "today" in your story. You don't know when your reader is, ya know, reading the story. Yes, on air it's different, you say "today," but online you put the actual day something happened. Second, do we know the bus hit the student, or vice versa? How about attribution to that point, if you're gonna raise it. Finally, you've put the word East twice in the same sentence. Avoid that by naming the bus route later in the story, if needed, but not in the lede. Instead, write something like: A UGA student suffered minor injuries early Tuesday afternoon when her bike collided with a bus on East Campus. Or something like that. Note how, without attribution, I leave it open as to who is guilty.

Later Graf

I'm pressed for time, so let's skip down the story a bit to this sentence:
There is still no word on if the bus driver has been charged with any crime yet. The name of the student has not been released by authorities.
The way this is written you assume the bus driver will be charged with a crime. And I especially hate the word yet in this sentence. Too suggestive. Perhaps she biked in front of the bus, or the bus had the right of way.  If you know different, tell me why and who says so, but the sentence above suggests it's the bus drivers fault with no supporting information.

This story was cranked out fast, so points for getting it online, but take care in how you write it and later go back and clean it up online. No reason to leave it parked there in its original form. Update the thing.

No comments: