Fall SAVY 2017, Day 4- Leads and Angles: Judging Journalism Through Analysis and Perspective (5th/6th)
Students, thank you again for a wonderful morning in Leads and Angles!
We covered a lot this week.
Our work began in a more philosophic vein, as I asked you to contemplate the differentiation between fact and truth; it seems we were able to list many facts about the past week, yet truth was far more elusive. You now know that facts are those concepts and data points supported by logic and reason, while truths are dependent upon perspective, and therefore inherently subjective.
With this in mind, we explored certain word choices that pose dangers for the aspiring journalist, as absolutely truths must pass an even greater test: words like “always” and “never” are just waiting to be popped with a pin, while the subjective nature of words like “usually” “often” “many” and “most” is readily apparent. Coupled with our reservations about the average adjective and indiscriminate nouns, you are learning to be far more discerning of sentence construction in news media.
Following our time in the classroom, we descended again upon the Vanderbilt Commons to interview potential subjects; our charge was to investigate follow-up questions, as the story of an individual allowed itself to be revealed. You then constructed a series of hard leads based on your investigations, with each lead designed to privilege a different “W”; it was fascinating to hear the soft bias that crept into a lead once “who” was given less weight than “when” or when “where” mattered more than “what.”
I’m looking forward to our next session together. We’ll return to the morning papers, digging into the week’s stories, before we continue honing the tools that will not only improve your writing skills but your ability to consume media in a responsible fashion. I can’t wait!