Hindsight, Feb. 16, 2017

The weekly critique of Doane Student Media

Praises:

Thanks to Austin Plourde for reporting on the budget cuts. That’s an important story for this college. We need to keep reporting about any cuts.

Glad Anna Flores wrote about the six-month search for a new library director. We need to follow it up Friday.

I worried that we were too late on the influenza story, but people are still sick. Perhaps the school has reached its zenith of sickness so this was a timely story, reported again by Austin Plourde.

Fun story from Lauren Wagner about Doane students working with Crete students in after-school programs.

Lede of the Week: Doane students are shaping public education only blocks away from campus — Lauren Wagner

Finally, a story about a local band making good. Enjoyable feature from Jess Eddmeiri. If only we could run a song of theirs online — or shoot a video of them working in the studio …

Thanks again to Anna Flores for previewing the upcoming play.

I don’t know who Nikki Blumenthal is, but I like her editorial cartoon on the opinion page. Here’s hoping we see more from her.

Big track meet this weekend. Glad Aspen Green reminded readers. Now, we need to cover the meet.

Photo of the Week: Caitlyn Nelson’s KDNE shot.

Headline of the Week: Influenza infects students and faculty across campus.

Problems:

Where is the dominant art on P. 1?

What’s with ‘Stupid F***ing Bird?’ Is that the the title of the play? Or is the title of the play: Stupid Fucking Bird? If it’s Stupid Fucking Bird, why would we put asterisks where letters should be? I assume there are posters on campus that tell students the play’s title. Why do we pull punches? I agree that we wouldn’t print the word “fucking,” as part of the play’s title if we wrote for the Lincoln Journal Star or the Omaha World-Herald. But we’re writing for The Doane Owl, a student newspaper. It’s OK to print the word, fucking, especially if it’s the title of a play to be produced on campus.

The headline on the budget cut story is way too small. Where’s headline hierarchy on P. 1. P. 1, BTW, is not alone. We have headline hierarchy issues throughout the paper.

I’ve read the budget cut story and I still have a question: What the hell will be cut? None of our sources tell us. In fact, a few pooh-pooh the idea of cuts. The president sent out an email talking about “budget adjustments.” Where will those take place and what will they look like? Is that so difficult to answer?

We talk about a strong endowment but never say how much money is in the endowment. Why not?

Be specific. When we say someone went to Wesleyan, we must state specifically which Wesleyan. I think every state in the nation has a Wesleyan. Here, we mean Nebraska Wesleyan.

Don’t bury the lede in the fifth graf.

Both photos on P. 1 are too small. Choose one to dominate. Me? I’m choosing sickness. Maybe the photo we used. Maybe a shot of the virus, played large, with the headline: This is what is making you sick. Missed opportunity here.

None of the people in the P. 1 photos are ID’d. Why?

Avoid placing pull quotes at the bottom of a length of text. More the quote to the top of the next column.

We jumped four grafs of the budget story? Really? Edit the story. Limit it to P. 1. Why jump four short grafs?

Why don’t we write headlines for jumps?

Avoid placing art between a headline and the start of a story.

Cutline on the KDNE photo, especially the end, makes little sense.

What is the news on the KDNE story? I think it’s that the staff has grown nearly three times what it was last year. Why not lead with that?

What happened to the pull quote on the on-campus living story? It trails off into nothing.

About the up and coming band … while I enjoyed the story, I did question the lede. It talks about the group traveling the United States, but the only places mentioned in the story are in Nebraska.

Student explores a sugar-free diet is misplaced. It’s opinion and belongs on the op ed page, IMHO. It also needs a column sig/logo so everyone understands this is an opinionated piece.

Watch the spacing between the headline and text in the diet column. The G dips into the text.

The play story talks about “both shows.” I’m confused. I thought there was one play.

What’s the news with the exhibit piece? I think it’s in the last graf — that the exhibit can be seen in the Nexus Center. If that’s the case, move that info higher.

Avoid editorializing in stories. Example: “Those of us lucky enough to have his work on our campus” and “I implore you to take a few minutes in the Nexus Center.” That’s OK for the opinion page. Not for the news pages.

Why do we place column mug shots between the headline of the column and the start of the column. I don’t understand that.

Also, why do we print the columnist’s name on his photo. Can’t we simply put it underneath the photo?

I have no objection to a review of “50 Shades Darker,” but it should be on the life&culture page, not op ed.

Avoid cutline widows.

Edit cutlines.

Attribute information that is not common knowledge.

I’m unsure the point of the story about student athletes going Greek. They’re busy. So?

Grammar and structure:

Avoid long introductory clauses. Reverse the sentence.

Build transitions into stories, especially to introduce a new source.

When said is the controlling verb, the subordinate verbs must also be past tense.

In most cases, omit “in order” when using the phrase “in order to.” It’s not needed.

Singular nouns must have singular pronouns.

Style:

Titles after names are lowercase.

Condense titles. In other words, eliminate superfluous words. Example: vice president for Financial Affairs becomes Financial Affairs vice president.

What’s style for 15 million dollars? C’mon, people. Reporters AND editors should know that’s not right.

What’s style for numerals more than nine?

What’s style for composition titles?

Doaneline:

Kudos to the Doaneline staff for quickly posting the breaking news of the hiring of the new diversity officer. The story even contains a link. Now we’re getting somewhere. We say it’s a continuing story so we should follow it with a more complete piece soon.

Generally speaking, we need more links in online stories — not to mention more multimedia coverage. Baby steps.

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