Prompt 8: News Writing

Prompt 8: News Writing


  • All these stories are from college or high schools. How are these news stories different from stories you may see in professional publications (like The New York Times)? How are they similar?
  • Which of these stories required the most reporting? Which required the least? Does more reporting necessarily equal a better story?
  • Which story was your favorite? Why?
  • Although these stories focus on their specific institution, similar stories can be written about Piedmont. Take one of these stories and explain how you could write it for and about Piedmont. Include the people you would potentially interview.

Prompt 7: Event Coverage

Event Coverage:


  • In reviewing these stories, how is event coverage different than taking minutes of a meeting?
  • What additional reporting was required to write these stories?
  • Are these stories written more like news stories or feature stories?

Prompt 6: Sports Feature

Sports Feature:

Blog Prompts:

  • When people think of sports, the first thoughts revolve around competition and performance. How do these stories reinforce such perceptions? How do they differ than such perceptions?
  • What story did you like the most? Why?
  • Sports journalists are often accused of over-dramatizing athletes in their coverage. Is that evident in any of these stories?
  • Based on these readings, is it necessary for a writer to have a strong grasp of the sport they are writing about?

Prompt 5: Arts & Entertainment

Feature Arts & Entertainment:

Blog prompts:

  • People often associate arts and entertainment coverage with reviews. How do these stories go beyond the traditional critical review? What do they have in common?
  • Which one of these stories most resonates with you? Why?
  • Entertainment is very subjective. How do the writers attempt to give these stories mass appeal?

Prompt 4: Feature Profile

Feature Profiles:

Blog Prompts:

  • Each of these feature profile stories are very different in topic and writing style. Which one do you think took the most effort to report and write? Which one took the least effort? Explain.
  • Strong feature writing should resonate with readers even if the reader is not particularly interested in the subject. Which of these stories featured a subject you were you least interested in? Did the writer effectively get you interested in the story? Why or why not?
  • You’ve all written feature profiles before. After reading these stories, what elements can you incorporate into your feature writing and/or reporting to make it more effective?

Prompt #3: Reviews



  1. “Lincoln” by Roger Ebert,, Nov. 7, 2012
  2. Texas Chainsaw Massacre” by Roger Ebert,, Oct. 17, 2003
  3. “Stranger Things” by Jeff Jensen, Entertainment Weekly, July 13, 2016
  4. “Pink: Beautiful Trauma” by Maura Johnston, Rolling Stone, Oct. 13, 2017
  5. “Taylor Swift: Reputation” by Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, Nov. 10, 2017
  6. “Kesha in Atlanta” by Melissa Ruggieri,, Sept. 30, 2017
  7. “Hamilton” by Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly, Aug. 6, 2015
  8. “Ali Smith: Autumn” by Sarah Lyall, The New York Times, Feb. 17, 2017 (full review here … READ BOTH!)

Blog Prompts:

  • Roger Ebert is considered by many to be the greatest review writer of all time. After reading two of his reviews (one four-star and one zero star), why do you think this is the case?
  • Not taking into account your personal opinion of the subject, which of these reviews do you feel was best written? Why?
  • Do you feel the short reviews (Pink and Autumn) were effective? Why or why not?
  • After reading these reviews — all by prominent, professional review writers — what do you feel are important traits in writing effective review

Prompt #2

Editorial Writing

  1. Twitter Walks a Fine Line on Free Speech, The Washington Post, Dec. 25, 2017
  2. The Truth is Out About The International Students, Sacramento Country Day School Octagon, June 10, 2017
  3. Will Trump’s Lows Ever Hit Rock Bottom?, USA Today, Dec. 12, 2017
  4. Campus Sexual Assault One Year Later, Southwestern College Sun, April 2017
  5. Dumbing Down High School, Chicago Tribune, May 25, 2017

Blog Prompts:

  • In terms of writing structure and content, what do these editorials have in common?
  • What are the differences between these editorials and the columns read last week?
  • Which editorial was the most effective? Why?
  • Which editorial was the least effective? Why?

I’m so excited!

I have to be honest with you. I’ve never been more excited to develop and teach a class.

This is the first semester “Advanced Writing & Reporting” is being offered at Piedmont College. The class has evolved from the former “Investigative Reporting” class.

As you know, there is no textbook for the course. But there are several assigned readings. I’ve always been a believer of the philosophy that to become a better writer, you have to read a lot of writing. And although I’d like to believe you read as much writing as I do, I remember being a college student — you’re likely not reading anything that isn’t assigned, especially during the semester.

So in lieu of a textbook, I’ve compiled several examples of the different types of writing we’ll be analyzing and eventually producing this semester. We’ll be reading a range of writing, from Pulitzer Prize winning professional pieces to high school journalism. Why? Because I want to show you that with a little effort and some critical thinking, you can produce similar work.

I’ll post links to the readings and blog prompts on Moodle. I’ll also post the prompts on the blog each week. Your blog post should incorporate your answers in a narrative form — don’t just copy/paste my questions and list your answers. You’ll be publishing your blog responses and final stories on this website. And watch for my comments!

Let’s get it started!

Prompt #1

Autobiographical / Opinion Writing