Hindsight, Nov. 10, 2016

The weekly critique of Doane Student Media publication


Congrats to Kelli Albracht for a simple yet effective electoral map. This is the Graphic of the Week.

Three — count ’em — three P. 1 stories from BNWR newswriter Austin Plourde?!?! Excellent work.

BTW, Austin’s stories are well done, too.

Photo of the Week: Junior Rebecca Fischer labeling plants in the garden for the Pollinator Project by Brooke Buller.

Generally speaking, good stories on pollination, donating blood, leadership, staying fit and education outside of the classroom. Well done all. I especially like Cole Bauer’s piece on the education outside the newsroom.

Important editorial on what happens now that Trump is elected. Powerful stuff here that needed to be said by someone. I hope the entire staff agrees with it.

Also, fine columns from Kellen Korinek, Austin Plourde (three stories and a column?!) and Jess Eddmeiri.

Good sports stories as well from Haley Nast and two stories from BNWR writer Stephanie Hoshor.

Lede of the Week: Donating just one pint of blood has the potential to save up to three people. — Gibson Shaffer.

Headline of the Week: Student Congress eliminates Doane Lake swans


What happened to headline hierarchy, especially on P. 1? I’m unsure what’s more important, the presidential election or Friday Night Live (or for that matter, the swans or nachos).

While I love Kelli’s electoral map, I wish we would have included an electoral vote count with the map.

A six-line deck on the Trump story is way too long.

The lede on the Trump story fails to tell the story. At heart, this is a localization and it needs to focus on what students and/or faculty and staff are doing locally, at Doane. In other words, the news is buried in the second column.

Be accurate. David Sutera is not a journalism professor. He is a Communication professor.

When possible, avoid alphabet soup. Rather than call it SWAT, refer to it as the team.

Avoid leading a sentence or graf with the date. Bury the Boring But Necessary as close to the verb as possible.

When developing a list of items, use bullet points.

We still haven’t fixed the Stop’N’Shop ad. Any chance we can get some of these ads to go color?

The lede states: India Williams has learned from the best and continues to teach the best. But the rest of the story doesn’t quite back up the lede.

We say an alum is a senior advisor. To whom?

The photos in this paper are, how shall I put this, less than compelling. There’s a name for photos of people standing and smiling at the camera. It’s called “The Execution at Dawn” photo. Avoid.

How do you hold a blood drive in your hands?

In a couple of stories, we use first person plural. Why? There is no need to do that and it makes the reporter and the paper part of the story. That’s wrong.

Attribute in the middle. Put the Boring But Necessary in the middle.

What happened to the indents on the stay fit piece?

How will the sources in the stay fit piece help others stay fit?

Explain to readers unusual terms, such as plyometrics.

Avoid widows — the second line in a cutline that’s only one or two words long.

Avoid leading with the time element! I thought we all knew this by now. Editors, why do you continue to allow this to happen?

Omit needless words.

On P. 5, why is the dominant art element below the fold? It should be higher.

BTW, why do we devote an entire story on whether jobs are available in theater? Certainly, there are other majors that would fit that the worry about jobs being unavailable. Why didn’t we mention them?

Avoid burying the lede.

Explain unusual terms. Technical actor?

When readers have clear questions about stories, answer the question for them.

P. 6 is too gray. Pull quotes? Mugs?

Grammar and structure:

Avoid -ing words when possible. Make the verb active. Example: Not Students are planning to emphasize … but instead: Students plan to emphasize …

Avoid adverbs when possible.

Use the word like only when you mean similar to. Otherwise, use such as.

In reported speech, when you begin with the source and what the source said, the rest of the sentence must be in past tense to agree with the main verb, said.

How do you spell beginning? I ask because we mangled it on a P. 8 cutline.

Avoid bumped heads.

Regarding the football playoffs, what playoffs are we talking about? We never say. Are these NAIA playoffs?

When writing an advance, you must give the opposition’s record.

Avoid “some” students. Be specific.


Environmental Science is a proper noun. Uppercase it.

Punctuation goes inside the quote marks.

The new style on state names is to spell them out. All of them. So it’s Topeka, Kansas. We had it wrong even under the old style. It would not have been Topeka, KS, but Topeka, Kan.

What is style for adviser?

When it comes to listing when and where an event is to take place, it’s always: time, day, place — in that order. So, we should tell people that the blood drive will be from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (no :00) Friday outsde of Butler gym on Daone’s campus.

What’s style regarding numbers?

Tho? When did we change the spelling of though?

Web design:

Stories need links. Too many fail to have them.

On the “Bad Movie” piece, good video provides action and emotion. Watching talking heads doesn’t equate to good video. We should intersperse short clips of “bad” movies with the people who are talking. In fact, the piece never mentions what the bad movies are. This could be a much more compelling piece had we named some of the movies and showed short clips of them with voiceover comments.