Chapter 8 Exercises



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Chapter 8
Exercises
A. What are some of the daily tasks of a wire editor?
B. Compare the front page of your local daily news source with a national daily source, such as USA Today, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post or the Chicago Tribune.
1. List the nonlocal stories used by each, and note the wire services that contributed the stories. (In the case of the national news organization, the stories may be written by reporters for the paper even though the news comes from outside the paper’s home city.)

2. What stories do the news sources have in common? How do the stories’ lengths compare?

3. In about 250 words, compare and contrast the papers’ use of nonlocal stories by describing the stories briefly and explaining which ones are stronger.

4. Using similar criteria, compare a local television newscast with a national newscast on the same night.


C. Read the following group of imaginary wire stories and rank the stories in order of importance to your audience if you were an editor at a national news or television or radio organization (specify your audience). Use the news values to make and defend your choices in a classroom discussion or as a homework exercise.


  • Reversing a long and discouraging trend, several African nations report growing economies and stable inflation rates; the news may signal a turnaround in the continent’s postcolonial history.

  • The president signs a bill providing a tax break to millions of middle-class taxpayers; it will save the average household $280 a year.

  • A 10-year-old Midwestern boy is arrested and charged with sexual assault after allegedly groping his fourth-grade teacher.

  • A report attributed to a European intelligence agency finds some evidence that a Third World nation has developed a dangerous new toxin that could be used to decimate whole populations if used in biological warfare.

  • A well-known movie star attempting to circumnavigate the world as part of a hot-air balloon team is lost with the rest of her crew in a storm in the Atlantic Ocean and presumed dead.

D. Answer the following first as if you were the editor of a local daily news organization, and then of your campus news outlet. Which of the following stories could probably be localized? How, specifically, would you go about localizing them? Which could not be localized? Refer to the stories by using the slugs that precede them.




  • Professors: A national study shows that about a third of college professors are women—a substantial gain in the past quarter-century—but that most female professors remain on the lower rungs of the academic hierarchy in terms of position, pay and prestige.

  • Deportation: The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service is running out of detention space where illegal immigrants and immigrants convicted of crimes are held while they await deportation. The INS says it may have to release thousands of people now in custody to make room for newcomers.

  • Sleep: German scientists find that people who can wake up at a specific time without using an alarm clock release a special hormone into their bodies shortly before waking. The finding may eventually help in the treatment of sleep disorders.

  • Computers: More than 50 million U.S. homes now have more than one computer, according to marketing research, and the number could double in two years.

  • Students: New college freshmen are twice as likely to rate being “well off financially” as an important goal than having “a philosophy of life,” according to the annual The American Freshman: National Norms report. That ratio is the opposite of what it was in the late 1960s.

  • Food fight: A 14-year-old Pennsylvania student is convicted of disorderly conduct and sentenced to 20 hours of community service for throwing a single french fry in his high-school cafeteria.

  • Iranian TV: The head of Iran’s government-owned television network is in trouble with government officials because the network aired a news show blaming backers of the Iranian president for the deaths of anti-government dissidents.

  • Spring break: A national association of travel agents warns college students who are looking for cheap spring-break vacation packages that they can be ripped off by shady promoters who advertise on campus. Many such promoters arrange second-rate travel and accommodations, and some don’t make arrangements at all.

  • Environment: The White House is proposing that states and cities get more access to federal funds to protect the environment and that they have more control over environmental planning. The proposal is part of an overall budget package that would have to be approved by Congress.

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