News Conference classes are mostly about the basics of news production in texts and it has been one of my favourite classes whenever I have been able to attend.
In the first few weeks, we learned what an editorial conference is and who participates. Here we also learned of the type of news and who the target audience is. It is important that news is produced with a particular target audience in mind. Stories must be pitched to the editor before produced.
In the following weeks, the basic inverted pyramid shape was drilled into us. The most important information is at the top while the least important one goes to the bottom. The reason for that is that the editor who may be short on space may cut out the final sentences and paragraphs without losing the essence of the news item.
We also learned the basic questions a news item must seek to answer: who, what, when, where, why and how, the 5W and 1H.
In the weeks after that, we learned the importance of grammar, correct spelling and punctuation. A reader who encounters sloppy writing may get distracted and move on to other news whereas a news item that begins with catchy, succinct and flawless sentence is likely to hold the reader’s attention for longer.
In later weeks, we learned how to produce news items from press releases. This is a lot easier than sounds since most press releases are written as though they are already fit to print. A journalist’s responsibility is to check the facts and re-present the press release for the particular target audience.
The final weeks were mostly about putting in practice what was learned and crown it with a feature article which was done just in time.