Story matters, but Where do I Start?

Multimedia Roundup

LA Times Gang Violence

  • What role does the text play in this piece?
  • Does the story change if you read the text first?
  • How do you read/view the story? In what order? Why?
  • How do the images add a new layer to the story?
  • What does the video add?

What is a breaking news story?

NYT: Republican primary

NYT: Galliano

NYT: Police

 What is a feature story?

What are the characteristics of a good story?

  • beginning, middle, end
  • strong character
  • impact
  • timeliness
  • proximity
  • human interest
  • entertainment
  • unique

LA Times: Cuban Scrabbler

Collegiate Times: Felon Moves Forward

Univ of Oregon: Braving the Bar

Michigan Daily: Shoelace 

St. Pete Times: Lawnmower Man

What stories do you want to tell? Why? What do you want your story to say?

Discuss community leaders and groups on The West Side


Buffalo News

New York Times

Do these stories accurately reflect the community?

Jan Schaffer speech

  1. Do you think the line between reporting and commentary is blurred?
  2. Is coverage motivated by community interests?
  3. Do you think journalists can help make citizens more engaged?
  4. Do you think people prefer to watch rather than engage in change? What is the role of journalism in this? Are journalists like civic “seeing-eye dogs?”
  1. How does the news media rate in their coverage of the Republican primaries? Are they following Schaeffer’s advice listed below?
  • Avoid reporting on horse-race polls – who’s ahead, who’s behind? Unfortunately, this coverage is out of control in the current U.S. presidential campaign, and I would suggest that it often leaves voters thinking: If we know who’s going to win, why bother to vote?
  • Increase issues-based election coverage – focusing on voter issues, not the issues that candidates tout to move niche constituencies –such as abortion control, or gun control, or gay marriage in the United States.
  • Frame election stories as hiring decisions: Who do we want to hire to run our government? And what kinds of information do voters need to make that decision?
  1. What news do you want to read? Crime? Celebrity? Politics? Government? UB? What issues matter to you?


1. Set up your WordPress blog  and give it a name — please use your real name so I can recognize the blog on our blogroll. So name your blog John’s blog or John’s West Side Local etc.

2. Send me an email with your username, the blog name and the email you used to sign on (this will enable me to add your blog to our class blog list)

3. Make sure your blog settings are public so I can read and comment on your blog

4. Write your first post — responses to the week’s reading assignments

Need Help?

You have four assignments this week.

  1. 1. Set up your WordPress blog at
  2. Read Dan Gillmor’s “We the Media” Intro and Chapter 1 posted on UB Learns and post a short response post (~200 words) to this reading (and every other assigned reading) to your blog prior to next Thursday’s class. Responses should be well thought out, show that you have read and reflected on the material, and that you are thinking about your developing project.
  3.  Look at the following websites, Mission Local and NY City News Service and comment on one aspect/story on each.  Say if it’s a feature or a breaking news story and explain why you like or dislike it.
  4. Find out everything you can about Harvey Garrett, who will be leading us on a West Side tour.

Next class meets at 3:30 p.m. at 414 Richmond Avenue, Buffalo, 14213.  It’s near Rhode Island Street. You can park in the Left Bank restaurant parking lot at 511 Rhode Island. Bring cameras if you want and a notebook and pens.


About jkbiehl

Jody Biehl is the Director of the Journalism Certificate Program at University at Buffalo.
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