News Worksheet 5B: Defining the modern news story

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Worksheet 5B:  Defining the modern news story (by looking at an old one)

 

The following newspaper article appeared in the Stockton (California) Argus in November 1956, as reprinted in the Nov. 13, 1956, edition of the Sacramento Daily Union.

 

      A Californian and an Indian boy, coming from the direction of Livermore’s Pass, rode along the east bank of the (Stanislaus) river, following a number of American And Spanish horses. They were mounted upon two fine white horses and drove leisurely along until they were near the ranch of Mr. Wilson, when they observed two men riding at great speed toward them. Suspecting they were pursued, they left the horses they were driving, put spurs to their animals, and made their escape up the river. The pursuers followed close upon them, but the thieves were far enough in advance to take advantage of a curve in the road, where they suddenly turned their horses into the thick brush, and escaped from sight. The horses were soon found near the spot where they had left the road, but no traces were discovered of the thieves. Upon one of the horses was packed their utensils for cooking, and also the fore-quarters of a calf which had recently been killed and upon which was recognized the cattle brand of Mr. Livermore. Their drove consisted of six Spanish and two American horses and one large mule, all of which are now in the possession of Mr. Wilson.

      There is no doubt but these are a portion of the gang of horse thieves who have for some time past held their rendezvous upon the south bank of the San Joaquin, and who have, until now, succeeded in carrying upon their thieving occupation undetected. Upon them, the severe penalties known in the code of Judge Lynch seem to fall warningless. Every effort was made by the farmers and others in the vicinity of Wilson’s ranch to arrest the thieves, but they were unable to discover any clue to them.

 

A.  How does this story differ from a contemporary report of a similar incident?

 

 

1857 News Story

Contemporary News Story

1.

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B.  EXTENSION: Write a modern news lead based on the facts included in the article above.

 

C.  EVALUATE your lead by answering the following questions:

·      Are the 5 W’s and H stacked most important to least?

·      Is the lede free of unattributed opinion?

·      30 words or less?

·      Active voice?

·      Free of unfamiliar proper nouns?

 



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