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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

The Early Bird Catches the Worm

Working for the web is about executing your plan early and quickly.  So, when the Santa Monica pepper spray incident broke on Tuesday night’s news, I was very keen that, barring any other breaking news, that would be my first story written and posted up for the web Wednesday morning.  I figured that a package would develop from the story and there may be a statement released Wednesday, so I prepared a news story before and during the morning meeting to make sure we would have something posted early. 

When writing stories for a website like Annenberg TV News, I’ve learned to always have a local peg for readers.  Since our target demographic is USC students and local Angelenos, we should not just talk about the Dallas tornadoes and the damage it caused to that area, for example.  So, we should expand the story to focus on the delays and cancellations impacting the Los Angeles travelers.  Linking readers to a flight tracking website may be a great way to personalize and localize the story.  But the web just isn’t about stories.  It’s about original reporting and the social media world, of course.  The Coliseum Commission was meeting Wednesday in the afternoon.  While we did not have all the details in the morning, we were able to retweet live quotes from our reporter who was out in the field getting interviews with the General Manager of the Coliseum Commission and speaking with students who were interested in the change in management.  Never underestimate the power of social media!

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