In addition to your video packages, you will also write Web stories as companion pieces to your video. The Web stories, and added media, will be published in NewsTeam's media site at www.newsteamboulder.tv. Writing Web stories is an opportunity for you to provide diverse writing samples to prospective employers. In fact, reporters in many news stations are required to write Web stories.
Types of Web Stories
There are four types of Web stories you will need to write for NewsTeam.
- Feature Stories (News and Sports)
- News and Sports Packages
- Same-Day and National stories
- VOSOTs and VOs
Be aware that these stories are not just narrative versions of your scripts. The writing needs to be different and fall under AP Style.
Feature Stories (News and Sports): Your story must be online the day your package airs.
- 5-6 paragraphs
- At least three quotes
- Story adds more detail than what is used in the video package
- The first draft story is sent to the TA as a Word doc attachment. The TA will make suggestions and point out AP Style corrections, then send it back to you as a Word doc attachment.
- After you make corrections you will then post your story to the NewsTeam website (www.newsteamboulder.tv) and let the TA know that your story is waiting for approval.
- The TA will give your story one final check to make sure all the corrections have been made.
- Additionally, you need to make sure the video portion of your story is uploaded to NewsTeam's YouTube channel. You won't be able to do this until after the package is tweaked the morning of the newscast. Then copy the YouTube URL address and insert it at the end of your story.
- Finally get a screen grab of an image that represents your story or take a picture using your mobile camera phone on location when you do the story. Once you have these media elements, the TA will publish your story.
News and Sports Packages: Web story first drafts should be completed and sent to the TA the morning of the newscast. Your story must be published before the newscast ends that day.
- At least 4-5 paragraphs and 2-3 quotes.
- Stories less detailed than Feature Stories.
- First draft sent to the TA as a Word doc. The TA will make suggestions and point out AP style corrections, then send it back to you as a Word doc attachment.
- After you make corrections, you will then post it to the NewsTeam website (www.newsteamboulder.tv) and let the TA know it is there for approval.
- The TA will give your story one final check to make sure all corrections have been made, your package is at the end of the story and a screen grab. The TA will then publish your story.
Same-Day, National, VOSOT and VO stories: Web story first drafts should be completed and sent to the TA the morning of the newscast by 11:30 (some exceptions might occur for Same Day stories. Your story must be published before the end of the newscast (or for some Same-Days no later than 2pm that day).
These stories don't have to be long.
- Two-lines or one paragraph summary of the package.
- First draft sent to the TA as a Word doc attachment by 11:30am the day your package airs (Tuesday or Thursday). The TA will make suggestions and point out AP style corrections in your story and then send it back to you as a Word doc attachment.
- After you make corrections, you will then post it to the NewsTeam website (www.newsteamboulder.tv) and let the TA know it is there for approval. The TA will give your story one final check to make sure all corrections have been made, that the YouTube URL is at the end of the story and that you have a screen grab. The TA will then publish your story.
Weather: Your story must be published prior to the newscast and before you leave for the studio
These stories don't have to be long and they don't have to require video. Just a summary of the day's weather forecast and 5-day forecast. In fact, the story can be a list of bullet points, but the weather anchor is free to write a brief narrative depending on what's happening with the weather.
Tips for Writing Web Stories
Converting Broadcast Stories to Print
Print conventions generally follow AP Style and are often different from broadcast style.
Headline and Lede
Headlines are not slugs, nor are they written as titles. Headlines in Web stories are written much like a lede. Make it catchy to grab attention, giving readers a reason to keep reading.
- Skepticism over N Korea 'H-bomb' test
- Trump questions Cruz's citizenship
In Web stories, the ledes can be either more comprehensive than a broadcast lede or they can be catchy. Combine with the 'nut graph' in the second or third paragraph of the story (the nut graph tells why the story is important).
From the examples above:
- International skepticism and condemnation have greeted North Korea's claim to have successfully carried out an underground hydrogen bomb test.
- Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has questioned whether rival candidate Ted Cruz is eligible to become his party's nominee because he was born in Canada.
In a Web story, use the past tense instead of the present (use days of the week within the last week or the next. Otherwise use dates.
Quotes and Attribution
Quotes are used almost always at the end of a sentence rather than the beginning as in broadcast. Break up long quotes that are more than one sentence by inserting the attribution at the end of the first sentence.
- Use quotes the same way you would use sound bites in a broadcast story. In general, statements that would make good sound bites would also make good quotes.
- Use 'said' instead of 'says.' For example, 'Jones said....' not '...said Jones' in most cases.
- Always include names as well as titles. Titles can go either before or after the name (capitalise the title if before the name, lower case if it comes after.
- Try to use several quotes in the story -- at least one fairly close to the top. If there are clearly delineated sides to the story, balance with quotes from each side near the top.
- On second reference, use the last name for adults and no courtesy titles (e.g., Mr., Mrs., etc.). For children and teens, you can use the first name on second reference.
- For monetary figures, use the dollar symbol ($) instead of spelling it out, e.g., $15,000.
- For percentages, the opposite is true; instead of using (%), you need to spell out the word, e.g. 15 percent.
- Include ages and addresses when they are important to the story
- Don't start a sentence with a numeral. If at the beginning of a sentence, the number has to be spelled out. Preferably, avoid starting a sentence with numbers.
- Contractions are OK, but avoid slang ('kids,' etc.) unless quoting someone who uses the slang term
- Web Site - always spell using two words
- E-mail - always hypenated
- Internet - always capitalised
Getting your Web story on our website
Follow the instructions by clicking here: Posting Web Stories