Assignment 2 — News Story

ENG 399 Science Journalism

Assignment 2 — News piece

Due: Oct. 2 (draft)

Oct. 14 (final)

Write a 2-3 page, double-spaced news story.

The event must be current and science or UB-related and must be approved before you start.

You must have at least two quoted sources in your piece and you must list their names and contact information at the bottom of the page. At least one of the people quoted must have expertise or be a leader of a program or study or event discussed in your article. This could include professors studying the issue, professionals involved in fighting for the issue, activists enmeshed in it or leaders organizing an event to bring prominence to an issue or event. The other can be someone involved in the issue, attending the event or connected to the study discussed.

Your piece will need:

  • a catchy lead that encompasses the news (the who, what, where, when, why) of the story
  • strong supporting paragraphs, including numbers or data where relevant
  • good quotes – put your best quote first
  • background information that explains why the topic matters and who it impacts most directly

Your writing:

  •  Channel the Zinsser lessons: Avoid clutter, pick words carefully, verify you have unity of tense, pronoun and style.
  • Divide your piece into “mouthfuls.” One idea per paragraph.
  • Use transitions to help guide the reader.
  • Lead into your quotes. Don’t just leave them hanging in the middle of an unrelated paragraph.

How should you structure your piece?

Below is a sample. You do NOT have to follow it exactly. The number of viewpoints you have and how you present your information will depend on the information you gather. This gives a generic idea how the piece could be structured.

  1. Lead

(1-4 paragraphs capturing the essence of the story and the who, what, where, when why. Include most salient numbers, facts about event, study but leave lesser chewy data for later in the piece)



II. Strong quote from someone involved in the issue. This should support/enhance above informati

III. Background supporting quote and explaining more about story

IV. Quote or paraphrase elaborating and adding to story

V. Explainer paragraphs – more background/description/details/stats

VI. Perhaps more quotes or details about event, person, study etc.

VII. Explainer paragraph – more background/description/details/stats

VII. Final quote or info about story


As always, email me with questions or concerns:


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