Comm 231: April 21

Tips for writing a digital story

Feature Writing 101:

– Be objective. You are the narrator, not the main character.

– Write in third person. Do not use: I, you, we, our, etc.

– Write in AP style.

– Use short paragraphs. Usually, one to three sentences. Five at the most.

– Write a lead that hooks the reader. Should be one sentence.

– Use quotes and attribute them. Start the sentence with the quote and then use saidExample: “This challenge is the real deal,” Chiara said.

– Hyperlink if possible. Especially, if it will clear up confusion or gives more context.

– Check for spelling and grammar. EDIT in layers.


AP Style GuidePurdue Online Writing Lab

Headlines: Only the first word, the first word after a colon, and proper nouns should be capitalized.

Correct Example: How marketers can easily create infographics 

Incorrect Headline: How I Learned To Incorrectly Write A Headline

Names: Full name on first reference. Only last name with no titles after that.

Example: Adam Chiara, a professor at University of Hartford, taught a class on AP style. Chiara knew his students would dislike him for it. 

Titles: Capitalize a title if it’s before the name. If used after, it’s lowercase.

Example: Gov. Jane Smith is considering running for another term. Smith, who has been governor for seven years, …

Quotes: Commas and periods inside the quotation mark. If the quote is the beginning of the sentence, the first letter is capital. If the quote is a continuation, the first letter is lowercase. More details on quotes.

Example: “This challenge is the real deal,” Chiara said. He said it’s not the time that’s the problem but, “getting up in the early morning is hard for me.”

Location: Town, Conn. | Town, Conn., more text…  | However, if you just mention the state, it is written out. 

Example: He lives in Connecticut. He grew up in Hartford, Conn., before now living in West Hartford, Conn.

Dates: Oct. 21, more text…. |  He was born in October.

Example: He was born on Oct. 21, 2015. His mom is happy is was born in October

Numbers: Zero to nine is written out. 10 and higher is a number (unless the paragraph starts with a number, then write it out).

Time: 5 a.m. — 3 p.m.

Money: $100,000 — $1 million — $7.25. You do not follow the rules for numbers above. 

Example: First he owed him $7.25, then $100,000, and the $1 million.


In-Class Assignment

Interview your classmate, and write a 500-word story about why they came to CCSU, and profile who they are as a student.  

Include a picture, relevant hyperlinks, and quotes. Follow the feature writing 101 rules and use AP style. Also, follow the aesthetic lessons we’ve learned about creating a good visual post.



Homework: Write a 500- to 750-word feature story on your blog.

The story can be a profile of someone (cannot be a family member or friend – you won’t be objective), about an event, or profiling a business/organization.

It must:

  • follow the feature writing 101 standards
  • follow AP style
  • include at least two original quotes recorded by you
  • have at least one original picture shot by you (use the techniques we’ve learned in class)
  • include at least one relevant hyperlink
  • put in a category on your blog
  • incorporate other lessons we’ve learned in this class about aesthetics, SEO, etc.

Email me the post before the start of next class

THE PLAN

  • Infographics are still due by Friday, April 14.
  • You will have the option to do redo the assignments you got the two lowest grades on (the redos will not replace that grade). You do not have to do this. At the end of the semester, I will divide your grades by however many you turned in. You can start one of your assignments now, but wait to see what you get on your infographic before starting the second.
  • If you want to do a video assignment instead of a redo, please email me, and I will send you the instructions.
  • We will have one more additional assignment due before the end of the semester, but we will start and do most of it in class next time we meet.
  • The last class will be a working session where I am here to help.

P.S. I’m ending class 20 minutes early today, but you will get to keep working in the room. 

Final Assignment

Create a multimedia story and post it to your site (one post). Write a 650- to 800-word story that profiles a person, organization/business, event, or a combination. 

It must:

  • be written in the third person and using AP style.
  • include at least two hyperlinks that open in new tabs
  • have at least one original photo shot by you.
  • have at least two digital media componentsExamples: infographic, slide show, video
  • be aesthetically pleasing (no excess white space, text wrap around pictures, media component placement is strategic, etc.).
  • have at least two original quotes recorded by you.
  • not have obvious errors (spelling, grammar, basic AP, mistakes pointed out from previous assignments).

Assignments will be graded stricter. It must be better than before.

You must email me before the start of class on Friday, May 12. You must attend class that day to receive full credit for your final.