Miller Charmaine

Charmaine's adventures in news writing and editing

Archive for January 2013

Week 4 Diary

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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. 

 

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Written by charmainemiller

January 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Week 3, Story Pitch

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This week I was not in the newsroom because of the holiday.

Story pitch:

Peaceful Paths Annual Dinner and Board of Trustees Meeting, Monday, Jan. 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sweetwater Branch Inn.

Background: This is a meeting that will happen on the day of my next INF shift. The public is invited (as long as they RSVP) to hear about the organization’s upcoming activities and news about its expansion project. Peaceful Paths is a domestic abuse network that serves victims of domestic abuse in Alachua, Bradford and Union Counties. It is a safe place that offers emergency shelter, counseling services, children’s programs and violence prevention programs to its patrons. The center has been operating for almost 40 years. Household names like Sheriff Sadie Darnell and Rep. Charles “Chuck” Chestnut hold places on the current list of the Board of Trustees. I have pulled all of this information from the Peaceful Paths website.

Pitch: Why is a meeting like this important? There are important area officials invested in this organization’s mission. Especially in the wake of Arbor House, a shelter for homeless pregnant women, announcing its closing, more nonprofits in the area will need to step up their missions. Will Peaceful Paths absorb any of the women who might have otherwise gone to Arbor House? Where exactly does Alachua County (and its surrounding counties) stand on this issue of domestic violence? 1,170 arrests for domestic violence were made in Alachua County in 2011, according to data from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. I searched high and low, but given more time, I would like to find statistics on how many women versus men are affected by domestic violence in this area. It would be ironic if we found that nationally we are championing women’s newfound rights to fight in combat, but even in our homes we cannot seem to get it right.

Sources:

Theresa Beachy, Executive Director of Peaceful Paths Domestic Abuse Network, 352-377-5690, theresab@peacefulpaths.org

Florida Statistical Analysis Center, FSAC@fdle.state.fl.us, 850-410-7140
Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement

Meeting attendees

Written by charmainemiller

January 25, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Story idea #1

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I was thinking about my story pitch this week, and I realized the last time I had to do this was in reporting class. My mind instantly fell into the university bubble, where I covered most of my stories that bitter, car-less Fall semester. I realized after my first INF shift and through talking with my classmates that most of the stories for WUFT are actually concentrated off-campus, in not only Alachua County, but also surrounding areas. But in the spirit of my first week, I am giving myself a university pass because I kind of like my story idea.

RecSports offerings for the new year—

New group fitness classes, free weekend warrior workshops.

New group fitness classes: Ballet Strength, Recovery and Sampoorna Yoga which will be stretching out to 75 minutes in duration instead of the traditional 60 minutes.

Also, weekend warrior workshops are a new thing, and they are free to students and RecSports members. They are held once a month throughout the Spring semester and include themes such as barefoot running, triathlon training and women on weights training.

And the Florida Pool will be open unless the outside temperature reaches 45 degrees or less, in which case swimmers can migrate to the Stephen C. O’Connell Center pool.  In addition, I would find out if swimming is closed this time of year at Lake Wauberg because of temperature.

This would basically be a round-up of new information about the gym, pool and group fitness classes offered. I think it would be a more interesting and informative spin on the “gyms see ramped up attendance in light of New Year’s resolutions” stories we see every. single. January. (Love you, Alligator stringers!)

Sources:

Ambre Sheehy, RecSports Coordinator for Fitness- Group Fitness & Small Group Training, AmbreS@recsports.ufl.edu, (352) 273-4056

Michelle Alexander, RecSports Coordinator for Parks & Outdoor Recreation, michellea@recsports.ufl.edu, (352) 466-4112

Group fitness instructor for any of the new classes mentioned

Student attendees of new class

Written by charmainemiller

January 19, 2013 at 5:23 am

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Diary Week 1: Editing Madness

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Arriving in typical Charmaine fashion, I am posting this just a handful of minutes before deadline. But it has been one of those weeks, I assure you.

This was the first week of not only my five-hour shift in the Integrated News Facility, but also at my new editing job at Smokin’Notes. And I returned to my semester-old gig copy editing at the Alligator two nights a week. I’m not good with arithmetic, but of this calculation I am sure: I spend hours editing each week day. I have found a weird position where I edit for love, I edit for money, I edit for school credit. I actually didn’t think these motives would coincide, but I’m glad in my last semester of college they are beginning to.

Let me recall my first INF shift Monday. I arrived at 8:29 a.m. to a practically empty newsroom, said hello to my friend Samatha Shavell and introduced my lost self to Professor Forrest Smith. I actually don’t know if he’s a professor, but I would like to ascribe respect to his title. He told me where to take a seat, and because I am horrible with oral directions, I sat at the super desk, unaware that it was for important people, not me. It was when the important people, like Professor Sheehan, started to arrive and fill the spaces that I realized I was the only one who did not really belong, but no one said anything.

For the first hour and a half or so, I was excited to be sitting in such a professional atmosphere, seeing students record TV clips around me and listening to the radio people at work. I was also very lost and very concerned with looking like I knew what to do. I read the follow sheet. I read over some of the stories WUFT had done  that weekend.

Things really got started when my assignment editor, Christina, came. She helped me and the other anxious students relax a bit as she showed us around the newsroom and introduced us to radio and TV students.

At 9:30 a.m. we went to the story idea meeting with the TV students. They had some great ideas, and it was interesting to see them at work and doing what they love. I, unprepared, did not contribute an idea at that point.

After the meeting, I glanced over the assignment board with Christina and fumbled around listening to some radio footage of a story I could possibly do an online write-up for. Tasks were still very ambiguous to me at this point.

What happened next that kept me busy for two and a half hours happened by pure accident. Ben, a radio student, came up to me as I was simultaneously sitting obliviously and oh-so-importantly at the super desk, asking me to do an online for the raw audio interview he had done with a sheriff’s office spokesman about a shooting the night before. I didn’t think, I just jumped in.

Before I knew it, I was listening, researching and writing up a story to accompany the audio.  Then, per Christina’s suggestion, I kept in contact with Alex de Armas, the student TV anchor covering the story, who helped me get photos from the scene and included a great video clip for the whole Web package. It was fantastic. I loved working across departments, and I loved the feeling of being busy and having a goal.

After that long day of the INF and class, I came home to find this online:

http://www.wuft.org/news/2013/01/14/archer-shooting-leaves-one-dead-two-injured/

And my name at the top! I was amazed at how it all fit together and how my fellow students continued to edit the piece and fact-check it for me when I had to leave my shift. What a wonderful way to end a confusing and busy day.

P.S. The time stamp at the bottom of this post is wrong, and I don’t know how to fix it. WordPress has stumped the computer-challenged in me once again. I did get it published a minute or so before midnight Saturday.

Written by charmainemiller

January 19, 2013 at 12:46 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Hello there

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This will be the domain in which I share with you, my dear reader, my excursions and experiences working in my College’s new Integrated News Facility. Feel free to learn with me as I delve into the news and find my place as an editor in this class and outside of it.

 

Charmaine

Written by charmainemiller

January 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized