Part 3: Assembling Your Issue Story

1. Outline structure of your text

Here is a standard structure – and the one I want you to use. See Alcohol’s Hold on Campus, The Chronicle of Higher Education as example.

A. Lead (Start with a real person dealing with the issue)

B. Nut graph (What is your issue? Why is it important?)

C. Cosmic graph (This is an example of a larger issue…)

D. “The Springboard” (Often quote or question that launches reader into the rest of the piece)

E. Point 1 or Person 1

  • Fact/stat
  • Illustration or example
  • Quote
  • Repeat if necessary

F. Point 2 or Person 2

  • Fact/stat
  • Illustration or example
  • Quote
  • Repeat if necessary

G. Continue Point/Person until you cover the key aspects of issue

H. So What?, Conclusion or Possible Solutions

2. Go through your interviews.
Listen for anecdotes and moments of reflection. These are your quotes and soundbites. (See Ira Glass). Log and transcribe good quotes. See what you have and what you don’t have. You might have to go get more interviews.

3. Go through visuals. Storyboard. Structure your story presentation.

See Conterfeit Ed for sample

-What is text doing? What must the visuals do?
-What visuals will draw audience in and hold attention?
-How will visuals be presented? Stand alone? Structure?
-Where should multimedia be embedded in piece?
-Pull quotes?

4. Write text. Edit multimedia. Then put them together.
Text and multimedia should each be able to stand alone and tell the story, but they should compliment each other. What if someone only reads text? What if someone only looks at multimedia?

5. Contiguity
Pay attention to how all of the parts relate to each other. Headline, featured image, pull quotes, text, multimedia.

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About Nick DiUlio

My name is Nick DiUlio, a freelance writer and editor from New Jersey. I have been passionate about the craft of writing since I was old enough to spell, and this love has led to a successful career in journalism and creative nonfiction. As a freelancer, I have covered a wide range of topics and personalities, as my published work has focused on everything from profiles of artists and important political figures to hard-news stories with both national and local appeal; from restaurant and beverage reviews to tips on fashion and finance; from health and wellness pieces to celebrity Q&A’s. My work has appeared in several local, regional and national publications—both in print and online—including Philadelphia Magazine, Slate.com, Miller-McCune, New Jersey Monthly, Eating Well, and Delaware Today. Additionally, I am the South Jersey Bureau Chief for New Jersey Monthly and an adjunct journalism professor at Rowan University. To be sure, the broadness of my body of work seems only to be matched by my boundless interest in almost every subject imaginable (except Warren Zevon). Check out some of my most recently published work here.
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