Ch. 1: Deadline Writing

Deadline writing is probably the biggest part of journalism. Whenever someone is writing for a publication, there will usually be a deadline. Quick turnarounds are difficult, and can be tricky, but they can also produce some great work.

Short deadlines force the writer to get the writing done directly following the event covered. The writer will still have the topic fresh on his or her mind, so the story will be more clear, concise and detailed.

The most interesting aspect of deadline writing though, is when a writer is still able to find a special angle to a story, usually by following particular characters and seeing how it affected them.

I found what Leonara LaPeter says in Ch. 1 very interesting. She says, “The second I got to the courthouse every morning, I would be looking for my lead. I’d be looking for details, quotes, for the transition, and I’d also be looking for the structure of my story.”

By doing that, it would be much easier to quickly type up an article and have it ready to send in immediately.

In the article “Breakthrough reached in negotiations on Bailout,” David M. Herszenhorn and Carl Hulse used a lot of tactics that are very important in deadline writing.

First of all, they did a good job of explaining the background thoroughly, but still relatively quickly. This can be the determining factor of whether or not readers continue to read. If people do not know the background of a story, they will not understand and skip the story. But if they do know the background, and the writer spends too much time on it, readers will get bored and move on before getting to the true point.

I also thing collaboration is a very interesting thing to include in deadline writing. By doing this, the writers were able to get a very thorough, accurate story. Much more so than they would have had they each written individual articles. Although it is not apparent who contributed what, I’m sure they both had different information that made the other’s work more well-rounded.

One thing wrong with this article was the use of an unknown source. The use of “officials” instead of specific people leaves readers wandering more about that than the point of the quote. It is also less reliable. But deadline may have been too close to find someone else to say the same thing in a quote.

In “Hurricane Katrina Slams into gulf Coast; Dozens are Dead,” the article is packed with physical detail. It gives great detail into how things were. This was published very close to the time the hurricane hit land, which is impressive. The fact that Joseph Reaster and Kate Zernike were able to fit as much detail and as many high profile interviews into the story in such a small amount of time is very impressive. It shows that these reporters are very skilled at getting at the heart of the story quickly.

The article “Obama ups criticism of McCain, Wall Street,” contains a lot of useful information that ties into other important events. Kathy Kiely relates the topic of Obama’s rally in Greensboro to the rest of the news in the paper at the time.

For example, she includes information about the ideas from the debate and the issue of whether or not the campaign trails would continue during the talk about the bailout.

The closing though, contained a little too much extra information in the attempt to make it more relatable. It includes a descriptive detail of Obama’s baggage handlers.

Sports stories that are due on short deadlines have a tendency to be constant statistics that don’t always captivate the reader. In “Big stop lifts Bears over Eagles,” it has conversational tones that keep the reader interested. Sometimes in sports writing, it is overdone.

By following the story with an even amount of play-by-play action and explanation of what that meant exactly for the team, the writer keeps people following along rather than zoning out.

Usually first person is not a good way to write. But in “I saw it all; then I saw nothing,” Daniel Henninger uses the style in an unbelievably affective way.

Sept. 11 was obviously a time when Americans were in shock and disbelief. Everyone was feeling that way, and everyone was remembering and relating where they were and what they saw. But Henninger breaks apart from the pack. He uses deep detailed description that keeps readers going.

Another aspect of this article that was impressive was that it was part of a 10 story series. All written in the same day. It shows how important it is to always be writing and reporting and always be planning to write while reporting.

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One Comment on “Ch. 1: Deadline Writing”

  1. Janna Says:

    Something went haywire at the top of your Chapter One analysis. It’s showing all of the HTML markup. You might want to check that out.


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