Week 4 Diary
I remember thinking it would be a good day as I sat at the 9:30 a.m. story idea meeting, viewing the tops of brick buildings and the football stadium from our perch in the conference room. And indeed it was.
I started off my shift by fixing a discrepancy I saw while perusing the articles featured on WUFT over the weekend. In the Gator Run story, the body of the story used 5K with a capital K and the headline didn’t. I changed the 5k in the headline to 5K.
I worked with Samantha Shavell, a Web reporter, as she chased a story about LifeSouth’s announcement of its blood donation shortage. I updated the assignment sheet with her information and eventually listened to the audio from her interviews to help her check on exact quotes.
The minutes slipped by as I got a steady flow of small tasks. The last thing I ended up doing during the shift took me a while. I completed a second edit on an article on the new Florida restrictions on massage parlors, an effort to curb human trafficking. The copy was full of errors; major fact errors included the misspelling of the name of a source (a Florida House representative) and the listing of a wrong time in which massage parlors were restricted from operating. Style and grammar errors included use of two hyphens instead of the em dash, a lowercased “legislature” even though it was referring specifically to the Florida Legislature, nonparallel sentence structure, Representative spelled out preceding a name instead of Rep. and the confusion of the word “effect” for affect.
I enjoyed ripping up the article and cleaning it up. I hope I made all of the necessary changes. Because there were more factual errors than I would expect to see by the second edit, I checked every fact extremely closely. When I couldn’t find a specific title online for one of the sources, I gave him a call and left a voice mail. The source ended up calling me back later that afternoon, after I left the newsroom and the piece had been published, very clearly correcting me on his title. I asked him if what we had him down for was valid, and he said it was not correct. So I’m glad I got that verified, but I am not sure about changes protocol. I emailed professor Sheehan about it.