Monday, June 15, 2015

A Step in the Write Direction--June 15, 2015--Newspaper writing (continued)

A Step in the Write Direction
June 15, 2015

Update: Not much news to report. Daughter and family completed their move to Texas and yesterday was their first Sunday in their new church. Daughter said service was AWESOME!... Had annual physical last Friday; everything great, but my doctor did order an MRI on my shoulder (which the orthopedic office didn’t). That will be tomorrow morning, so hopefully they can find a reason for the pain….Shipping books out today for the Kentucky conference June 25-27. Will enjoy a visit with my brother and wife in Tennessee first.

Thought for the Day: "God has put a dream inside you. It's yours and no one else's. It declares your uniqueness. It holds your potential. Only you can birth it. Only you can live it. Not to discover it, take responsibility for it and act upon it, is to negatively affect yourself as well as all those who would benefit from your dream" (John C. Maxwell Put Your Dream To The Test).

Song for the Day:

My Jesus, as Thou wilt. Oh, may Thy will be mine!
Into thy hand of love I would my all resign.
Thro’ sorrow or thro joy, Conduct me as Thine own.
And help me still to say, “My Lord, Thy will be done.”
            Benjamin Schmolck, “My Jesus, as Thou Wilt”

Laugh for the Day:
"What do you mean," roared the politician, "by publicly insulting me in your paper.  I demand a public apology."
"Just a moment," answered the editor, "we printed the item exactly as you gave it to us, that you had resigned your office." 
"I know," the politician replied, "but why put it in the column under 'Public Improvements'?"

Writer’s Tips:             Writing for Newspapers (continued)
Many newspapers cannot afford a full-time staff to cover all the local news so they hire a “stringer”—someone they can send out to cover a human interest story. These stories can be on any subject. For example, if you’re interested in writing church news, not just from your church but other churches in the area, let the editor know you’re available.

I received a call one day saying, “We have a fellow who does chalk drawings and illustrates the pastor’s sermons. Would you like to interview him?” The newspaper provided the photographer.

I recall one conference workshop I attended titled “Getting the Gospel Message to the Secular World.” A young man in the class brought a scrapbook of stories he had sold to a St. Petersburg, Florida, newspaper. These were human interest stories with a Christian slant. The one I remember most was about how a teen’s faith in God brought him through his father’s murder.

One year four couples in our church celebrated their wedding anniversaries the week of Valentine’s Day. The length of their marriages ranged from fifty-six to sixty-four years. I called the religion editor and asked if she was interested in a story on these couples. She said, “Great, and we’ll send out a photographer.” The story appeared as a full-page spread in the Sunday newspaper. I had asked each couple, “To what do you attribute your long marriage?” Each answer included something about their faith in God, church activities, praying, and reading the Bible together. I heard comments on that article from people I knew would not pick up a religious magazine.

In writing these stories, remember to use the pyramid structure you learned in your English or journalism class in which you give all the important facts first in case material is cut due to space limitations. In the above story, the editor deleted the last paragraph giving the names of the fourth couple’s children and the number of their grandchildren.

Many church activities never make it into the local paper because either the editor doesn’t have anyone to cover the story, or the church has no one qualified to write it. This includes such things as Christmas or Easter cantatas, concerts, a new pastor or staff member, vacation Bible school, missionary speakers, and so on.

You can also cover other community events. What about school activities such as concerts and programs, or stories about special students or teachers? Or, if you’re a sports fan, you can send in reports on school games and local adult softball, basketball, football, or soccer leagues. Organizations also like publicity, especially for fund-raisers.

As you can see, possibilities abound. Editors look for qualified people to write these stories. Why not you?

Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

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