Assembling an Issue Story

1. Set up collaborative work space.
Set up a Google drive folder for your group. Set up subfolders for photos, videos, etc.

2. Report.
Interviews. Research. Events. Photos. You need video interviews with at least two people.

3. Go through your interviews.
Listen for anecdotes and moments of reflection. These are your quotes and soundbites. Log and transcribe good quotes. See what you have and what you don’t have. You might have to go get more interviews.

4. Outline text of your article

Here is a standard structure I want you to use. See Alcohol’s Hold on Campus, The Chronicle of Higher Education as example.

A. Lead – Start with a real person dealing with your issue.

B. Nut graph – What is your issue? Why is it important?

C. Cosmic graph – Put your localized issue in broader context.

D. “The Springboard” (Often quote or question that launches reader into the rest of the piece)

E. Point 1 or Person 1

-Short lead into your key point or person

-Illustration or example


-Repeat if necessary

F. Continue Point/Person until you cover the key aspects of issue. You will probably have 4 or 5.

G. Ending. So What?, Conclusion or Possible Solutions

Write text. Each person may write a particular section if that works.

Edit multimedia. Video interviews should be no more than 2 min.

Put multimedia and text together.

Place photos, videos and other multimedia in appropriate places. Text and multimedia should each be able to stand alone and tell the story, but they should compliment each other. What if someone only reads text? What if someone only looks at multimedia?

Revise and smooth out text so that the style and tone matches. It should read like one story. Not four parts written by four different people.

Finishing elements.
Pay attention to how all of the parts relate to each other:

-Write a compelling headline with key words.
-Make sure you have a strong visual at top.
-Add hyperlinks to attribute key facts, terms, etc.
-Use bold subheads and pull quotes to help break up big blocks of text.

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