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News Story Exercise (Writing For Electronic Media, May 2013)


Portfolio Assignment #3: Writing Leads & Feature Articles from Notes (written for BECA 370, Writing For Electronic Media, May 2013)

5.12 Leads and Second Paragraphs

1) A church group intends to stop the teaching of evolution in a university biology class. Pastor William Straking plans to bring 25 members of the Ever-Faithful Church of the Living Water to the state capital on Monday to speak with legislators.

“We believe the teaching of evolution is against the principles of this Christian country, and we want to put a stop to it,” Straking said. Associate professor of biology Laura Cliff teaches the class. Neither Cliff nor the president of the university would comment on the issue.

2) Amburn’s Produce Market faces a $100,000 lawsuit from an injured customer. In her suit filed today, Ellie Maston accuses the market with negligence after an accident on April 1.

Maston slipped and broke her hip while walking on some green beans left on the floor of the market. According to the suit, the fall resulted in permanent bodily and mental injuries, medical expenses and lost income.

3) Labor and management leaders have agreed to call off the strike at Ambrose Steel Company. The strike had been set for midnight tonight. President Clyde Parris of Ambrose and President Charles Pointer of the United Steelworkers Local 923 announced jointly that they have reached a collective bargaining agreement. The strike would have stopped production and put 457 steelworkers off the job.

According to Pointer, the terms of the contract will be read tonight to a meeting of the union, who will vote on it next week. Pointer calls the contract the best the union can get out of the company. Parris says the contract includes “substantial wage agreement” but did not disclose how much. The details are to be announced tonight.

7.3 Writing News Stories: Chicken Truck Causes Pile-Up

A wayward chicken truck making an illegal left turn caused an accident, injuring 25 people and killing some 30 chickens. Approximately 11 cars were involved in the wreck. According to police sergeant John Jones, a semi truck carrying laying hens made an illegal left turn on McFarland Blvd. and 15th, turning over on its side.

“It was the biggest pile-up I’ve ever seen,” Sgt. Jones said. “Lots and lots of smashed bumpers, but the worst part was the screams of the chickens. Those things sure do make a lotta noise, you know.”

At least 30 chickens out of the cargo of 300 were killed in the crash. As many as 40 birds remain missing. The animals are the property of Alabama Poultry, Inc., and should be returned if found, Officer Jones stresses. Company president Carlton Fitzsimmons reports the dead and missing chickens are worth over $700. Each bird was insured for $10. The chickens had been on the way to one of the company’s new farms near Gadsden. The farm, which holds about 20,000 chickens, supplies eggs to IGA stores throughout the south.

The driver, Jeff Johnson of Alberta City, suffered bruises and a possible broken ankle. An ambulance took Johnson to DCH, where hospital spokesman Clarence DiMotta reports he is in good condition. Johnson is 45 and married with three children.

Also taken to the hospital was retired kindergarten teacher Sarah Bernell. Miss Bernell, 63, was riding in a car driven by her nephew, Mike Kenyon. DiMotta reports she is also in good condition with a slight concussion. The remaining 23 victims only suffered bruises and were not admitted. The cars in the accident only had minor damages, according to the police report.

SUMMARY: A chicken truck overturned on McFarland and 15th, causing a multi-car pile-up. The driver and a passenger of one of the cars were slightly injured, and some chickens were lost.

7.15 Writing Feature Stories 1: Student Sit-In

High school student Bobby Lott is vowing to sit in a tree until Friday’s football game. At 9:00 AM, Bobby climbed up a tree in front of City Central High School to show support for the school team. City Central will be playing against archrival County Central this Friday. The winning team will go on to try for the state championship.

According to Principal Dick Barrett, Bobby is a good student and has his parents’ permission. “I won’t make him come down,” he says. “I don’t think he’ll get behind in his schoolwork.”

Mr. Barrett’s judgment appears to be correct. Bobby’s friends are already taking notes for all the classes he is missing, as well as handing him food. And though the tree-sitting stunt is an attention-getter, the amount of sacrifice involved has its limits. Bobby is coming down to use the bathroom when he needs to, and if a lightning storm hits, don’t expect him to stay in his perch. “I may be crazy,” he says, “but I’m not stupid.”