News deadline experience

A couple weeks ago I had an assignment which was a timed assessment for a news story. We were given the information we needed to write up a news story of around 300 words and the ‘journalist’ who was supposed to write it was off sick.

This assessment was to show us budding journalists what it would be like to write for a deadline. Honestly, the first thought you have is, 300 words will be a breeze, but it really isn’t. The most difficult part of completing this type of assessment is just, which information should I include? What’s the most important? And of course you use the inverted pyramid, but in that situation it’s quite easy to make mistakes and end up babbling.

The week prior to the assessment we had a practice run and I did pretty well, although I forgot to quote the actual guy who wrote the letter about the situation the story was on. I was so glad that this had been pointed out as during the actual assessment I remembered to quote the right people.

In addition to this, we had to write a rationale afterwards to explain why we did certain things, such as why did we use a certain quote, why did we set it out the way we did etc.

This experience has helped me narrow down the key points in information I am given. Just because it’s called a news story doesn’t mean it needs to be long-winded. It was a great exercise and assignment to learn what it’s like to have a deadline in a short amount of time. In addition to this, it made me realise how difficult writing for an exact word limit is. But it helps you cut out all the jibberish the story doesn’t need and makes it focus on the point, which at the end of the day, makes it worth reading.

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