Time crunch

By Keeley Sheehan

I work best under pressure.

Curious George
If he can do it, I can do it.

The first story assignment for this was harder than I thought it would be because I had so much time to spend on it.

When I started writing for The Spectrum and I had four days to write my first story, I remember being scared I wouldn’t be able to finish it in time.

Now if I have any more than a couple of hours to get a story done, I find myself staring at the computer screen tapping my fingers against the keyboard, unable to focus because I’m not sure what to do with the extra time.

This first assignment was difficult because it forced me to take a step back from the go-go-go of journalism and really analyze what I think I’ve become so accustomed to.

I had a hard time with the outline that we had to hand in last week. I don’t outline stories very often. Even with longer stories, I’ll have a basic idea of the structure  in my head, and I might jot down a few points on paper before I start writing once in a while, but I usually just form the story as I go, working out the structure in a way that makes sense as I write and see where the story goes.

I also realized how much research I don’t do when I write. When I write a story for The Spectrum I include just enough background information so that the story makes sense, but maybe that’s something we need more of. Maybe some of my stories would be more complete if I didn’t get caught up in the rush of waiting until the last minute and took that extra few minutes that I usually spend tapping my fingers to look up a few more interesting bits of info.

2 thoughts on “Time crunch

  1. jkbiehl

    Contnet: 4 I’m glad you wrote this post. I often think Spectrum stories could be better researched. I’ve even considered doing a lecture on research (with Internet access!) at the Spectrum.

    Research is key to reporting. You should always know 5 times more than you put in the story. Even on breaking news stories. On longer pieces, you should know 10 times more.

    Lazy reporters get by with the minimum research. Some manage, but they never advance beyond the mediocre. You don’t want to get stuck on the metro desk your whole life.

    Great writers often try to mask flimsy research with erudition. It usually shows, though. And those writers never advance far either, despite their talent.

    Be different. Be great. Take time for research, then think/outline (even if you just jot a few notes on paper) and then write.
    Grammar: 3

  2. Pingback: Tredding water « UB Fundamentals of Journalism

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