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Mining Mass Media
Module 2, Activity 1.2 - Characteristics
of Electronic Media

Student Page
(teacher lesson for this page)


You will travel through time reading sports stories and diagnosing the difference between electronic journalism and print journalism. In the end, you will create a rough draft for a story you have the option to complete in the lesson on constructing a television story.


Task One - Reading Between the Lines
You have already learned the basics of good sports writing. To review the concept, look at the lesson on the Elements of a Sports Story. While the basic elements are the same, the way the radio and television journalist covers sports is slightly different than the way a print journalist covers the sports beat.

You should view stories from one of the following three topics:

Now that you have viewed at least 3 stories under each heading, you are ready to practice some basic skills:

  1. Choose the story that most interested you.
  2. Pair it down to the key facts (less than 1/2 a page typed or a page written) in standard inverted pyramid style.
  3. Review what you have written and cut the points you don't need.

Task Two - "The Medium is the Message." (Marshall McLuhan)

Watch a video clip from an on-line source or a story from the sports section of your nightly news broadcast. Find the same story in print form from a newspaper. Compare the two stories using the criteria on the chart.

After completing the chart, participate in a class discussion on the differences between Electronic and Print news.


You will be able to
- recognize the differences between a news story and sports writing
- understand the requirements for reporting news using radio, television, and the Internet
- assess an author's ideas and techniques


- Internet access
- chart
- tape of an electronic news story and a copy of a print story on the same topic
Broadcast news is written differently than Print news - SOME OF THE DIFFERENCES . . . MIGHT SURPRISE YOU.

Task Three - Writing for Critical Mass
Unlike newspaper and magazine reporters, the electronic journalist uses her words to bridge events that are shown or heard. Take the article you sketched out for Task 1, and make it into an electronic article.
  1. Watch the archived story again and choose at least three sections of the story (footage is typically referred to as the tape) that you wish to use. Time those sections to see exactly how long they are.
  2. Using your own words, tell any parts of the story that are not on the tape. This is a rough draft, so proper formatting is not required. However, be sure to write down when you are going to tape, and the last thing said on tape (outcue or OC) before your story resumes. If you choose to type it, type your story entirely in capital letters.
  3. Read your story aloud and change anything that sounds awkward. A television story does not always use proper sentence structure. Instead, it is written to match the way we speak. Sentence fragments, extra commas and ellipses (. . . for a pause) are used to make it easier to read.
  4. Put the new draft of the story in your notebook for later use. Be sure that the URL for your tape is written on the story.

Last Updated
May 27, 2005

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