Copy and paste these exercises into a new Word document or print them out so you have the information; then write stories in the formats as directed.
10-1. Inverted pyramid exercise
Write this story in inverted pyramid order, placing the most newsworthy information first and the rest in descending order of importance. Use a summary lead. You may substitute your town for Portland. Put your quotes in separate paragraphs, unless you have two quotes from the same speaker.
Information from the Portland Fire Bureau: A canister of tear gas was set off by vandals (yesterday morning) at the Gregory Heights Middle School. Three students are being sought for questioning. At least 48 children and two teachers were taken to a dozen Portland hospitals for treatment. The fire department was called at 9:31 a.m. A second alarm was sounded at 10:32 a.m. The problem caused no evacuation of homes in the neighborhood around the school. The school is located at Northeast 73rd Avenue and Siskiyou Street.
Students and teachers vomited and suffered a number of other problems, including a burning sensation in the lungs, nose, throat and eyes, due to the gas that apparently was released in a school corridor. The school was closed for the day. The Fire Bureau began allowing staff members to return inside about noon.
From Don Mayer, spokesman for the Portland Fire Bureau: He said the trips to the hospital were precautionary. He didn’t know if anyone was in serious or critical condition. “The symptoms the kids are exhibiting are consistent with Mace.” He said a Mace-like container was given to investigators by a parent who said it was sold to her son on the school grounds yesterday morning. Mace is a type of tear gas. He said school officials gave investigators the names of three possible suspects. He said investigators were trying to reach those youths.
From the school Principal John Alkire: He said the substance was in the science and math hall area in the northwest corner of the school’s first floor. He said the substance was odorless. “It was like walking into an irritating wall.”
From Nguyen Do, an eighth grader: He was in class during the morning break. He said he and others went out in the hall and started coughing. “So I covered my mouth and ran out of the building. It’s Mace. I know that. It was a set-up to get out of class or something.”
From Michael Grice, spokesman for the Portland Public Schools:Students who were not affected by the fumes were sent home about 10:45 a.m. The school district sent buses to take the students home. Classes at the school will resume tomorrow [use the day of the week].
From Jessie Doty, 12, a seventh-grader:“I started coughing. It just stung my throat. My eyes watered and turned red.”
From Jeff MacMillan, 12, a seventh-grader: He said he got a headache from the chemical. He said other classmates were worse off, including one girl who fainted and had to be carried from the building.
From Autumn Gierlich, 13, an eighth-grader who suffers from asthma: She was coughing and receiving oxygen shortly after the incident when you arrived at the school. You notice her waiting for an ambulance and you get these comments from her: “I got the stuff into my lungs, and I could barely breathe. I had to gasp for air. I was dizzy. Now I’m feeling better. They gave me oxygen. I coughed and coughed, and spit up phlegm.”
From Richard Harder, a paramedic with the Portland Fire Bureau:He said he was one of the first to arrive. He said he saw about 15 children on the ground. Some of them had severe respiratory problems. Others were coughing, vomiting and sneezing.
From Carol Palumbo, an eighth-grade teacher: She was consoling crying students in front of the school after the evacuation. “The kids are really upset. It’s just horrendous, whatever it was.”
From your observations and basic questions: Students were taken to an area on the front lawn of the school. They were carried by stretcher or walked to ambulances. The children were ages 12 to 15. More than a dozen ambulances were sent to the school. The school is located at Northeast 73rd Avenue and Siskiyou Street. It has more than 900 staff members and students in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades.
Based on a story by Dave Hogan and Paul Koberstein, TheOregonian. Used with permission.
10-2. Wall Street Journal formula
For this exercise, use an anecdotal lead, nut graph and supporting points for this story as discussed in your textbook. You do not have to change the wording in this story; just reorganize the paragraphs in The Wall Street Journal formula order. Plan your order topically, and use the kiss-off technique, blocking information from each source. If the information is not enclosed in quotation marks, the comments are not direct quotes.
Nutritionists agree it’s understandable that students that who stay up late to study need to eat to keep going. In their newsletters, nutritionists suggest that fruit or even pretzels would be healthier snacks than candy or pizza. The fabled Freshman 15 affects men and women, according to students. Those nasty 10 to 15 pounds that students tend to gain in the first few months of college have become as much a part of higher education as reading lists and blue-book exams.
Many schools send new students another helpful message during orientation: Find time between study and socializing to exercise every day, be it through sports, aerobics classes or a simple walk. Some schools, such as the University of Pennsylvania and Rutgers University, offer special workshops to freshmen to help them avoid the weight gain.
Gene Lamm, a junior at Beaver College in Glenside: “I’ve gained 20 pounds since I left home.” He made the comment as he shared an entire chocolate cake with two friends. “I used to have abs (abdominal muscles); I don’t know what happened to them,” Lamm said, chuckling, as he lifted his gray T-shirt.
Peg Abell, a nutritionist at Widener University: Often students eat out of stress and even more often in an effort to socialize and fit in. “Some people eat to feel better since eating can have a soothing effect, and some use eating as a way of maintaining control of at least one portion of their life.” Joe Leung, a junior at Villanova: “I went up for second portions every day. I weighed 115 when I came, and I got up to 140.”Missy Palko, a sophomore at Beaver College: “I gained 30 pounds last year. If you look in the closets around here, they’re all packed with food.” An informal survey of dorm residents proved her right. Room after room held stashes of cheese crackers, doughnuts, popcorn, frosted breakfast cereals, chocolate and sodas.
Vanessa Varvarezis, a freshman who had been at Villanova only three weeks at the time of this interview: “I think I’ve already gained it. My parents sent me away with four bags of junk food, and it’s almost half gone already.” Eating at Donahue Hall one recent evening, Varvarezis had spaghetti, garlic bread, vegetables, about eight cookies and a fudge ice cream pop. “It was Weight Watchers, though,” she said about the dessert. According to a calorie chart given out by the Villanova food services staff, Varvarezis had eaten more than 900 calories for dinner. And that was before the late-night pizza run. “I order out a lot,” Varvarezis said.
Jim Martin, manager of California Style Pizza, near Villanova University: “We call them the pie hours.” From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., he said, his six employees deliver up to 50 pizzas per hour to the nearby campus. He routinely makes four extra pizzas for them to take along and sell on the spot. He said his delivery people have no trouble “hawking pizzas.”
Stephen Bailey, a sociology professor who conducted a weight-gain study for Tufts University in Massachusetts with Tufts nutrition professor Jeanne Goldberg: They tracked 120 women through their first year of college. He said the Freshman 15 is a myth. “Basically we came up with some results that surprised us. On average, the women gained a little bit less than a pound. They gained a bit between the fall and spring and lost all of that over the course of the summer.” The participants were volunteers.
Adapted from a story in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Used with permission 10-3. Hourglass exercise
Write this story in hourglass form, starting with a hard-news lead. Then proceed in chronological order for a portion or the rest of the story. You do not have to use all the information. The point of this exercise is to decide when and where you will begin the chronology.
You are making routine calls to the fire department and you receive this report from the dispatcher. Attribute information to fire department officials. Write the story in inverted pyramid order or hourglass form. Use yesterday as your time frame.
Information comes from Neil Heesacker,a spokesman for the fire department in your community. Firefighters responded to a fire at an apartment in a 32-unit apartment complex, Anderson Villa apartments, at 15758 S.E. Division St. at 6:39 a.m. The fire was brought under control at 7:05 a.m. The blaze caused an estimated $50,000 to the apartment building and $10,000 damage to the contents of the apartment. The value of the apartment building is estimated at $480,000. The family’s belongings in the apartment that burned were valued at $80,000.
The apartment was rented by Linda Lee Fuson. Her two sons, Kenneth A. J. Fuson, 10, and Michael Fuson, 14, were in the apartment at the time of the fire. Linda Fuson was not. She arrived some time after 6:40 a.m. Her whereabouts before then are unknown. The fire burned through the floor and blistered the gypsum walls and melted the family’s television set. Three pet birds died.
The fire also caused smoke damage to the apartment of Pat and Lisa Hampton, who live across the stairs from the Fuson family. The cause of the fire is under investigation. A neighbor, Darren Nitz, 31, is credited with saving Michael Fuson’s life. He lives on the first floor, just below the Fusons’ apartment. Michael Fuson suffered burns over a third of his body. He is in critical condition at Emanuel Hospital and Health Center’s burn unit. He has second- and third-degree burns on his hands, arms, face, neck, back, buttocks and thighs. Kenneth Fuson was trapped in his bedroom. He died in the fire. Fire in an enclosed area such as an apartment can push temperatures to 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit near the ceiling and 1,000 degrees on the floor.
Information from interview with Darren Nitz: “About 6:35 a.m. I heard neighbors pounding on my door and yelling about the fire. I didn’t think much about it at first, until someone said two children were trapped in the apartment. Michael was about seven feet from his bedroom door. He was saying ‘I can’t, I can’t,’ and rolling over and over. I said, ‘We’ve got to get out of here.’ I tried to grab hold of his arm but couldn’t because he was so badly burned. I put him over my shoulder and carried him outside. He told me that Kenneth was still upstairs. I went back to the top of the stairs but the flames reached the front door. Another neighbor, Brad Lindsey, grabbed a fire extinguisher and followed me.”
From Brad Lindsey, 24: “It was fully going when we got up there. Just after we got up them, it just vacuumed and shot right across the stairway. Nitz and I went back down the stairs. There was no way either of us could do anything about it.”
Based on a story from The Oregonian. Used with permission. 10-4. List technique
Lists are often used to clarify bureaucratic stories, especially those containing numbers. Write this story using the list technique. Your story will be accompanied by a chart. You may use several lists in this story.
The U.S. Census Bureau has released a report about the value of a college education. The report is based on data on educational trends and attainment levels are shown by characteristics such as age, sex, race, Hispanic origin, marital status, occupation, industry, nativity and, if foreign-born, when they entered the country. The tables also describe the relationship between earnings and educational attainment.
Although the statistics are primarily at the national level, some data are shown for regions and states. The report reinforces the value of a college education: workers 18 and over with a bachelor’s degree earn an average of $51,206 a year, while those with a high school diploma earn $27,915. Workers with an advanced degree make an average of $74,602, and those without a high school diploma average $18,734.
According to new tables released on the Internet titled Educational Attainment in the United States: 85 percent of those age 25 or older reported they had completed at least high school and 28 percent had attained at least a bachelor’s degree — both record highs.
Other highlights for the population 25 years and over: Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska had the highest proportions of people with at least a high school diploma, all around 91 percent. The District of Columbia’s population had the highest proportion with a bachelor’s degree or higher at 45.7 percent, followed by Massachusetts (36.7 percent), Colorado (35.5 percent), New Hampshire (35.4 percent) and Maryland (35.2 percent).
At the regional level, the Midwest had the highest proportion of high school graduates (88.3 percent), followed by the Northeast (86.5 percent), the West (84.3 percent) and the South (83.0 percent). The Northeast had the highest proportion of college graduates (30.9 percent), followed by the West (30.2 percent), the Midwest (26.0 percent) and the South (25.5 percent).
High school graduation rates for women continued to exceed those of men, 85.4 percent and 84.8 percent, respectively. On the other hand, men continued to have a higher proportion of their population with a bachelor’s degree or higher (29.4 percent compared with 26.1 percent).
Non-Hispanic whites had the highest proportion with a high school diploma or higher (90.0 percent), followed by Asians (86.8 percent), African-Americans (80.6 percent) and Hispanics (58.4 percent). Asians had the highest proportion with a bachelor’s degree or higher (49.4 percent), followed by Non-Hispanic whites (30.6 percent), African-Americans (17.6 percent) and Hispanics (12.1 percent). The proportion of the foreign-born population with a high school diploma (67.2 percent) was lower than that of the native population (88.3 percent). However, the percentages with a bachelor’s degree or more were not statistically different (27.3 percent and 27.8 percent, respectively).
This report confirms an earlier report released in 2002 from the Commerce Department’s Census Bureau’s Economic and Statistics Administration that says a college master’s degree is worth $1.3 million more in a lifetime than a high school diploma. A college master's degree is worth $1.3 million more in lifetime earnings than a high school diploma, according to the report.
Based on a news release from the U.S. Census Bureau.