journalistic writing

Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be read once.
-Cyril Connolly

In this class, you will write two main pieces: the opinion piece and the feature story. Smaller writing assignments will include blog assignments and alternative story forms (the interesting bits of chunky text found in a magazine, rather than long stories).
If a story is going to hold a reader's attention, it has to be something that is newsworthy. Elements of newsworthiness exist in any story covered by the media.


The Opinion
An opinion piece is quite simply, a concisely written piece where you argue and defend a position you haveon a subject. We see these in publications all the time, mainly from columnists or from the editorial staff.
Here you'll find lotsof examples of opinion articles from professional writers as well as previous students.
Opinion Analysis
In order to write an effective piece, a good writer analyzes the word choice, organization, and tone of high quality journalistic pieces.
Opinion Proposal
Once you know what you want to argue, you need to propose your idea to the instructor.
Evidence Outline
The outline is the planning stage for this piece. Here you will state your stance, present facts to back up that stance and prove why your sources are credible.
Opinion Rubric
Study this rubric to understand exactly what standard your writing is being held to. This document breaks down how the opinion will be assigned points.

The Feature Story
A feature is a story about something going on or someone who is interesting. Of course, there's more to a feature story, but that is the short version.
Here's more information about what types of features are most common, and some tips for writing yours.

Sample Interview Request

Article Bank
Here you'll find lotsof examples of opinion articles from professional writer's as well as previous students.
Feature PowerPoint (UIL)
This powerpoint is given to students competing in UIL Journalism events. It's got some great information, even though it uses clipart. :)
Building a Story
Feature Proposal

Interviewing is a large part of any feature story. Once you find someone to interview, use the Sample Interview Request form to ask them nicely if they'll talk to you.
Interview Scenarios
Take this quiz to see if you know how to handle yourself in an interview.
Class Sources
A group of students in any given class has wonderful contacts within the community. After the group brainstorm, check here to find out who knows who in the community.
Feature Outline

Feature Rubric


When it comes to research, Purdue University knows their stuff. They have an online writing lab dedicated to breaking down everything you need before diving into your writing or research. Here are some of the important points to consider before you start looking into your topic.

1. What are the different types of sources that might help me find evidence?
2. How do I evaluate the material once I've determined that the source is credible?
3. What is primary research and how do I get started?

Here are some sites to get you started. These search engines and databases can lead you in the right direction as you search for evidence.

Google ScholarProvides a search of scholarly literature across many disciplines and sources, including theses, books, abstracts and articles.
EbscoHostEBSCOhost ( serves thousands of libraries and other institutions with premium content in every subject area.
Highwire: Brought to you by Stanford University, HighWire press provides access to one of the largest databases of free, full-text, scholarly content.
Open Directory Project: The Open Directory Project is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors.
Complete Planet: Provides an extensive listing of databases that cannot be searched by conventional search engine technology. It provides access to lists of databases which you can then search individually.
The Directory of Open Access Journals: Another full-text journal searchable database.
FindArticles: Indexes over 10 million articles from a variety of different publications.
Find Law: A comprehnsive site that provides information on legal issues organized by category.
Infomine: A research database created by librarians for use at the university level. It includes both a browsable catalogue and searching capabilities.
Invisible Web Database: A database maintained by Chris Sherman and Gary Price, authors of the book Invisible Web, that provides a host of links to invisible web resources in a variety of categories.
MagPortal: A search engine that will allow you to search for free online magazine articles on a wide range of topics.

Revision and Edit Marks Key
Structured Peer Review
This activity helps students get quality feedback on their writing. Each student spends a determined amount of time focusing on each aspect of his or her peer's story.

Active/Passive Voice
Subject-Verb Agreement
Possessives and Contractions
Revision & Editing
AP Style Tips

The BE VERB Challenge