After none of last week’s stories from our shift got published, I told my INCers that we’re not spending time on stories that are not publishable. If they aren’t ready to edit, we’re sending it back to the reporter. And before we edit stories, we’re thoroughly looking to make sure they’re relevant, local and thought through.
Three stories came in: a revision on a 34th street wall, Lake Wahlberg expansion story and a flood chart release this week.
With the 34th street wall story, I didn’t think there was a news peg or newsworthiness in the story. I decided that it didn’t have enough of a news angle, although well written, to be able to run. I relayed that information onto Greenberry and Katie when they came in.
The second story was about Lake Wahlberg’s expansion. It didn’t look like the stories we publish because it didn’t reach our target audience; although it was interesting, it wasn’t yet a complete story. I also relayed this information to Greenberry and Katie.
The third story was based on a press release of a flood chart of Georgia and North Florida released Feb.10. It showed some promise but the story was incomplete. The problem was that the reporter hadn’t looked at the map well enough to see that most of the map was pertaining to just Georgia. The only bit of Florida was Madison County, which is on the outskirts of our coverage area. She had a quote from a hydrologist that said this flood information could affect the Suwannee River into Suwanee County. I told her to contact some locals of Suwannee and put the story together of how the information on this map will affect people: are they more at risk for floods? Are their houses high enough to avoid this? They’ve dealt with serious tropical storms, are they prepared for this again?
So with three stories in progress or being spiked, I told my INCers that they were going to work on finding their first story. They did an excellent job! One student actually caught the story about the Trenton police officer being sworn in this week from city minutes. He was researching about how the chief before him retired, and under his authority there were two incidents of police cruelty. The student also found that the chief before that one was fired. How is this new chief going to reassure citizens in the system? What is he doing now to help the situation? How do residents feel about it?
I had each of the students email the wuft.org gmail to get their story ideas on record. They’ve already begun talking with sources and digging for more information. Overall it was a good day, and it really helped the students to be able to work on story pitches with me and the rest of the news crew to guide them.