In response to this weeks Inquiry activity, I spent some time immersing myself in the text and reviewing the Moodle site to really help guide my understanding of what good news writing is.
Robert Pattinson talks about his new film, The Rover, with Dave O’Neil
To critically analyse this article, I took the major components of ‘Writing News’ from this weeks study guide.
Essential information must come first
The article, while witty and humorous in some respects, fails to deliver the essential information of the story first. Indeed, it could be argued, that the essential information of Robert Pattinson and his new film is almost nowhere to be seen throughout the article. There is very little information regarding the details of the movie or insight into Robert Pattinson’s perspective of the movie; which you would assume the article would be about. Essential information is lacking – and instead the author focused on random details relating to Pattinson’s ex-girlfriend, his present body guard and other actors at the setting of the interview.
The ABC of writing – accuracy, brevity and clarity
The article in many respects also lacks the ABC of writing. Accuracy is seemingly subjective, brevity is strained by the lack of essential information and clarity is reasonably passable in this poorly written article. In terms of writing style, there is a flow to article which I enjoy and respond to – a certain witty moving pace that I can get into. The major issues, at least to me, don’t stem from the writing style but rather from the lack of information masked by attempts to create a punchy and ‘funny’ article.
You are there to report!
This is where the article falls down the most. Rather than choosing to report on Robert Pattinson and the new movie, The Rover, the article focuses on seemingly irrelevant information. The lead intro, for example, doesn’t even mention the movie. The movie title itself doesn’t appear until halfway through the article – and even then, only as a passing comment.
In critically reviewing the article it is hard to make sense of what the author really intended to say or the story he was trying to tell. I do know that Dave O’Neil is a comedian, which brings the whole article into context at least in terms of its writing style. But to me just because he is a comedian, doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have taken a comedic tone in writing about the facts of the film. Instead the article is a mess of random tangents and assumptions.
Drought worst in living memory: AgForce survey
Similarly, in line with the text, the news release demonstrates the clear and impersonal style associated with well written media releases. Whitaker, Ramsey and Smith (2012, pp. 303-304) suggests that good media will; keep it short, use simple language, attribute matters of opinion, write for (but not to) the audience, lead with the news, use passive voice when appropriate and finally, avoid promotionalism. The media release presented by Agforce demonstrates all of the outlined writing qualities, while also providing the all of the basic elements of a media release (pp. 300).
As a response release the example clearly demonstrates a commitment to providing all relevant information pertaining to previous reports, while offering new insight and information. Powerful quotes and local information have been inserted into the release to give perspective of the issue and its direction.
The language used is impersonal, concise and insightful. The tone of the media release gets the message across without asserting an agenda.
AgForce Queensland, 2015, Drought worst in living memory: AgForce survey, AgForce Queensland, 20 May 2015, viewed 2 August 2015, www.agforceqld.org.au/index.php?tgtPage=news&id=view,478
O’Neil, D 2014, ‘Robert Pattinson talks about his new film, The Rover, with Dave O’Neil’, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June 2014, viewed 2 August 2015, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/robert-pattinson-talks-about-his-new-film-the-rover-with-dave-oneil-20140619-zs99j.html
Whitaker, WR, Ramsey, JE, & Smith, RD 2012, Mediawriting : print, broadcast, and public relations, Routledge, New York.