News Appendix 10: Rubric for evaluating inverted pyramid stories

Appendix description or content:

 

Ace reporter 

Good 

Fair

Poor

 

This story — so professional one would think it were cut from a professional news publication — convincingly demonstrates mastery of the inverted pyramid form by doing the following:

 

 

❍ with precision, arranges the key facts of the story from most important to least important

 

❍ relegates background information — information the writer could have known before the event — to a place below all new information

 

❍ is devoid of unattributed opinion

 

❍ artfully illustrates points with interesting, well-punctuated and well-attributed quotations; a transition is used to introduce each quotation.

 

❍ is a model of brevity, using few words to maximum effect.

 

❍ avoids passive voice except in the rare cases when it is merited

 

❍  shows few, if any, errors in the conventions of written English

 

 

 

 

This solid inverted pyramid story, while not as impressive as that written by the Ace Reporter, consistently does most or all of the following:

 

 

❍ arranges the key facts of the story from most important to least important

 

❍ generally relegates background information — information the writer could have known before the event — to a place below all new information

 

❍ is devoid of unattributed opinion

 

❍ illustrates points with interesting, well-punctuated and well-attributed quotations; a transition is used to introduce each quotation

 

❍ is for the most part concise

 

❍ generally avoids passive voice except in the rare cases when it is merited

 

❍  shows few, if any, errors in the conventions of written English.

 

 

This story suggests general awareness of the requirements for an inverted pyramid story, but does not suggest great prowess in meeting those requirements. This lead does much or all of the following:  

 

 

❍ unconvincingly arranges the facts of the story from most important to least important

 

❍ in some cases, fails to keep background information in its place at the bottom of the story

 

❍ may include minor unattributed opinion

 

❍ sometimes illustrates points with quotations but may do so awkwardly and without adequate transitions or

 

❍ shows too little attention to the need for brevity

 

❍ may slip into passive voice

 

❍  shows some errors in the conventions of written English.

 

 

These story doesn’t meaningfully address the assignment. This lead does much or all of the following:

 

 

❍ either does not have all the basic facts or shows clear errors in organizing them from most to least important

 

❍ fails to keep background information in its place at the bottom of the story

 

❍ is bereft of meaningful, supportive quotations; may fail to introduce quotations at all

 

❍ includes significant unattributed opinion

 

❍ noticeable over-use of the passive voice

 

❍ is wordy

 

❍  shows multiple errors in the conventions of written English.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Note: The fact that a person is speaking to students is not in and of itself newsworthy; stories should focus on what a person says, not the fact that he/she has spoken.)

 

 

 


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