Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Game Film Week 10

Game Film Week 10
From Twitter:
Confusing words sounding the same / makes your publication look lame:

Be selective / with your adjective
Hunter S. Thompson is purported to have once said: “If it’s weird, write it straight, and if it’s straight, write it weird.”
Examples w/heds:
Burmese python and alligator die after gruesome battle in Everglades
Python, alligator die after epic battle

Exact Numbers:
Unless the context demands exact numbers, round up or down:
An unusual clash between a 5.9 ft. alligator and a 12.8 ft. python has left
An unusual clash between a 6-foot alligator and a 13-foot python has left

Also, give ft. for foot the boot

was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency. ß avoid these kinds of awkward constructions. just say “told the Associated Press.”

Invoke the French Poodle Rule
The rangers said the find suggests that non-native Burmese Pythons might

Sequence of Tenses ßclick on this link
He said there had been four known encounters between the two species ß suggestion here was to use “have been.” As it relates to sequence of tenses, what do you think?

See this note form From After Deadline – an NYT Grammar Blog:

Sequence of Tenses
Several readers were puzzled last week by my criticism of the grammar in this sentence:
On Wednesday, the city of Copenhagen said that Mr. Eliasson will create a bridge there, called Cirkelbroen …

I said it should be “would create,” and indeed, that fix was made for print editions. But some commenters disagreed, thinking that “would” is only appropriate to convey a conditional sense or to indicate uncertainty.

The Times’s style, unlike that of some news organizations, is to adhere to the formal rules on tense sequences. So, for example, a verb that is present tense in a direct quotation shifts to past tense in an indirect quotation after a past-tense verb: I am going to the store becomes He said he was going to the store, not He said he is going to the store.

In such constructions, the future-tense “will” becomes “would” after a past-tense verb. In these cases, “would” is not acting as a conditional (He would go to the store if he needed something) but simply as the past-tense form of “will.”

Cutlines and awkward constructions
In cutlines – as much as possible avoid the such constructions as “is shown” or “is picture” or somesuch à
Former KYW-TV newscaster Alycia Lane is shown leaving the federal courthouse
Former KYW-TV newscaster Alycia Lane leaves the federal courthouse

AP’s got Religion: The stylebook is a cornucopia of info about religion and style. Check it out if you are not sure.  
A BLishop speaks on a cell phone before mLass

Civil vs. Criminal Court
KYW-TV newscaster Alycia Lane leaves the federal courthouse in Philadelphia.  She sued the station and former news anchor Larry Mendte after Mendte hacked Lane’s e-mail and leaked her personal information to gossip publications. He now faces house arrest and a $5,000 fine. ßcutline implies that she is leaving federal courthouse after suing – but this was a criminal trial brought but government. Her civil suit will come later in civil court.

Cliches and when they work and articles and conjunctions in headlines:
Python bites off more than it can chew
A Burmese python and an alligator fight to the death in the Florida Everglades
Maybe chew a wornout cliché, but maybe it works here – note the dek, however, and use of articles and conjunctions. I am attempting to teach you the conservative mode without such. Later you can break rules.

Echo, Echo, Heck No
First, you do not want to echo lead. Second, you do not want to steal your reporter’s words. à
Head: Burger King gets flak for ‘Whopper virgin’ campaign
Lede: Burger King is catching flak for taking the burger wars to places that don't even have a word for burger.
FYI: See Flak/Flack (this is also in your stylebook)

Web Heds 1
Python tries to make meal of alligator, both die
An SEO web hed might say “eat” rather than “make meal” – though as a writer of grabbie print headlines who likes to have fun with words I like the alliteration on “make meal.” Alas, that is problem with writing for Internet spiders.
News outlets take over college students’ computers ß fuzzy and obscure – it is really difficult to be cute and grabby in online hed given demands of seo

Web Heds 2
Two bombs found among luggage in train station diffused
Two bombs found in Mumbai train station defused ß this cuts luggage and adds Mumbai (which term do you think folks on Web would search for?
Ex-anchor under house arrest for hacking e-mail
Former anchor under house arrest for hacking e-mail ßex would not be a search term. Former might.
Police defuse bombs found at train station
Bombs found at Mumbai train depot defused ß this is why being DWI is important. Uses passive, yes, but gets relevant search terms into headline. Important, too, in print.

Old News vs. New News
Burger King launches ‘Whopper virgin’ campaign abroad, angers many
ß this is how keywords help you focus on the new news. Here, the launch is old news – the anger is new – and you need to be clear what you mean by anger. For example:  
Burger King’s ‘Whopper Virgin’ campaign called insensitive to hungry, poor
Burger King’s ‘virgin’ campaign targets hungry villagers
ßThis is old news, the new news is the campaign drawing fire
Bombs defused in train station, victims killed ßVictims killed is old news not new news
Bombs defused in Mumbai train station
Bombs found in Mumbai train station defused

Word Inference = Concision
Burger King’s ‘Whopper Virgin’ campaign called insensitive to hungry, poor
Here is what I mean. We all pretty much know what a Whopper is, so you could cut Burger King
Burger King ‘virgins’ campaign causes controversy, exploits villagers critics say
Burger King ‘virgins’ campaign exploits villagers, critics say ßCritics implies controversy
Former news anchor under
house arrest for hacking
Former anchor under house
arrest for hacking e-mail

There are No Synonyms (this is one of my mantras)
For example: Burger King criticized for asking foreigners to compare burgers
foreigners could include anyone outside U.S. That is not what we mean, right?

Heds as Editorial Opinion (lack of attribution)
Burger King insensitive to Whopper Virgins  
New Burger King Whopper campaign in poor taste  (though I like the taste pun)
Burger King exploits villagers in ‘Whopper Virgins’ ad campaign
Cell phones, Internet threat to soul

The Colon Hed (In a short count this may help. Just don’t overdue them.
Study: College students more focused on world issues
Vatican: cell phones hurt spiritual life

Quotation marks (single quotes in headlines)
Burger King accused of exploiting poor villagers in “Whopper Virgins” campaign
Cell phones and Internet “threaten the soul,” Vatican warns
Burger King’s virgin campaign branded insensitive (here, you need to put quotes around virgin and capitalize it.
Critics call Burger King’s “Whopper virgins” ad campaign “insensitive” à also, insensitive is not in quotes in story so you would not do so in hed

Padding and Bad Splits
Anchorman sentenced for
hacking co-worker’s e-mail
Former anchor who hacked
e-mail gets house arrest

Mendte on house arrest for
hacking Lane’s e-mail
Mendte under house arrest
for hacking Lane’s e-mail

News anchor sentenced to 6
months house arrest
Former anchor who hacked
e-mail gets house arrest

Here: Be more concrete, specific in your headlines – and hey – in all your writing: concreteness = the quality of being concrete (not abstract)

Pope believes
spiritual life
is threatened

Pope says cell
phone, Internet
threaten soul

Keywords Need a Verb
Keywords this is missing the verb sentenced / or / under house arrest or somesuch
1.     news anchor
2.     court
3.     hacking
4.     e-mail
5.     house arrest
6.     sue
7.     gossip publications
8.     personal information
9.     fired
10. job
11. network

Main hed: Former anchor under house arrest for hacking e-mail
Narrative hed: Former Philadelphia news anchor Larry Mendte
 was sentenced to house arrest for hacking into a
colleague’s e-mail and leaking information to gossip columns. ßso here, no need to repeat sentencing – you could make more DWI by adding colleague lost her job and/or that she has sued him  

Former KYW_TV newscaster Alycia Lane leaves the federal courthouse in Philadelphia yesterday. Lane took former colleague Larry Mendte to court after he repeatedly hacked into her e-mail and leaked  information to gossip publications, causing her to lose her job. ß in this case she did not take him to court. This was a criminal trial, which is brought by the government – she will sue in civil court

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