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The Art of Writing Effective Leads a Primer on the Media

By Aboki Associates

Summary

News gathering and news writing is central to journalism.
It is where the account of an event is sharpened up and
honed to a story. It sets the stage for a story to begin labour
pains to deliver on the pages of a newspaper, television, or
radio bulletin for the consumption of diverse demographic
audiences. Journalism is about acquiring skills rather than
just learning concepts. That is a very important thin dividing
line between journalism and mass communication. But even
when concepts are learned, they are intended to be put to
practical use to serve the purpose of effective
communication. Therefore, the aim of journalism is effective
and practical communication with a heterogeneous audience
from varying demographic hues. Journalism is a profession.
Like advertising and public relations, journalism is the
offshoot of mass communication. Journalism is about people
and events. It is prose in a hurry.
The Art of Writing Effective Leads a Primer on the Media
 
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Abstract

News gathering and news writing is central to journalism.
It is where the account of an event is sharpened up and
honed to a story. It sets the stage for a story to begin labour
pains to deliver on the pages of a newspaper, television, or
radio bulletin for the consumption of diverse demographic
audiences. Journalism is about acquiring skills rather than
just learning concepts. That is a very important thin dividing
line between journalism and mass communication. But even
when concepts are learned, they are intended to be put to
practical use to serve the purpose of effective
communication. Therefore, the aim of journalism is effective
and practical communication with a heterogeneous audience
from varying demographic hues. Journalism is a profession.
Like advertising and public relations, journalism is the
offshoot of mass communication. Journalism is about people
and events. It is prose in a hurry. It is the recording of history,
but it is not history itself. It is news writing. Sambe (2008:230)
defines journalism as “a report of things as they appear at
the moment of writing, not a definitive study of a situation”.
Journalism is pillared by the mass media of information
which include radio, television, newspapers, magazines etc.
Examples of these radio, television, newspapers and
magazines include Voice of Nigeria, Nigerian Television
Authority, Radio Benue, Taraba Television, Ashi Radio
Waves, Joy FM, The Voice newspaper, National Accord
newspaper, Newswatch magazine, etc. Journalism is an
empirical art. It is about writing news and features, comic
stripes and cartooning that are to inform, educate, enlighten
and entertain. But news writing or any specialised writing,
for that matter, is no cinch. Therefore, planning is obligatory
for the practitioner called a journalist to objectify
professional excellence.
xii
Every journalist is a gatekeeper, news manager or editor,
who cares about the frugal use of time, space and other
resources to meet the demands of the founder or founders
on one hand and competing information needs of the target
audience, on the other hand. He considers the mass of
information gathered from events, ploughs through,
winnows and presents them factually, tersely, concisely and
accurately, using inverted pyramid form in the case of news
writing. According to Potter (2006:26 - 27), there are also
the Hourglass and the Diamond structure. The Hourglass
structure is the modified version of inverted pyramid that
begins with the most important facts, but slips into a
narrative using chronological order. Whereas the Diamond
structure, which is another version of inverted pyramid,
introduces the character by beginning with an anecdote, and
after building the story with less important but cognate facts,
still returns to conclude with the main character. A key
element in telling a story is to identify the source of
information; the person who has said what. This is known
as Attribution. Once a news report lacks attribution, it is no
longer a story but an opinion. Perhaps, a reporter as a
participant-observer can report what he has seen in terms
of in-depth reporting.

About the Author

Aboki Associates

Aboki Associates

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