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Chapter 2: Eight Elements of a News Story and the Tools to Build It

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John Katsilometes, multimedia columnist for the Las Vegas Sun and lasvegassun.com, identifies key aspects in developing a news story.

John Katsilometes, multimedia columnist for the Las Vegas Sun and lasvegassun.com, explains how he thinks and plans for the various multimedia elements for his reports, expanding his former print-oriented thinking.

Michael Squires, political editor for the Las Vegas Sun and lasvegassun.com, outlines how he thinks about different media providing different entries into news.


  1. Take a front-page story in a newspaper and identify which of the eight story elements are included or may be missing.
  2. Click on a home page link to a news story and identify which of the eight story elements are included or may be missing.
  3. Listen to a television reporter package presented on air or video clip online and identify which of the eight story elements are included or may be missing.
  4. Find any of those stories on a social media site and determine differences between journalism and non-journalism sources. Which ones do you trust? Why?
  5. Find a multimedia project either on a mobile or online device and look at which story elements are being addressed by the various media tools being presented. Put together a spreadsheet of all the stories presented in the project and what was used to create each story.


Links to stories mentioned:

January 2011—Midweek wallop
A major nor’easter walloped Massachusetts on Wednesday morning, one that has brought nearly two feet of snow to parts of the state.

April 2010—Iceland volcano eruption
The eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano near a glacier in Iceland has led to evacuations and the rerouting of local and international flights.

August 2010—Poll on public who say Obama is a Muslim

June 2011—Mezcal: Mexico’s delicious poison

Links to free downloadable social media tools for journalism

http://www.coveritlive.com (For covering an event in real time and for publishing live commentary and conversation)

http://twitter.com (For covering or following an event in real time and talking about it with a community)

http://storify.com (For curating social media information on news topics)

http://pinterest.com (A virtual pinboard to organize and share the things)

http://delicious.com (A website and online story bookmarking sharing tool)

Links to articles about the tools and the practice of convergence journalism

Power struggles over converged newsrooms may diminish value of web sites

Myths and realities of convergence

Teaching the future of journalism

Creating a navigational guide to new media

WTSP-TV uses Skype to broadcast live shot

Seven tips for organizing Skype conference calls

Skype: why every journo should use it

How journalists are using the iPad to enhance their reporting


@beckerben, R. (n.d.). universalhub 10a. Retrieved January 12, 2011, from hashtag#bostonsnow.

Block, M. (1997). Broadcast Writing: Shorter, Sharper, Stronger. Chicago: Bonus Books.

Ellement, J. R. (2011, January 12). Governor declares state of emergency, says storm could dump 30 inches in W. Mass. Retrieved January 12, 2011, from boston.com: http://mobile.boston.com/art/35/news/local/breaking_news/2011/01/_by_4_am_today.

Mega millions jackpot fuels dreams, ticket sales. (2011, January 4). Retrieved January 21, 2011, from cbsnews.com: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/04/eveningnews/main7213755.shtml.

Yaros, R. A. (2009, August/September). Mastering multimedia. American Journalism Review, pp. 30–31.