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Copy of SSI1-115:Imaging Blackness: Assignment Four: Essay (General Audience)

Assignment Four

  1. Write a five-page essay about your research question for a general audience.
  2. Use the “big six” questions that journalists rely on to thoroughly research a story. The six are: Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?


Writing for a General Audience

The lead, or the opening paragraph, of a popular press article should include the following:

  • Gives the reader the most important information about the article
  • Establishes the voice and direction of the article
  • Captures the reader's attention and encourages the reader to go beyond the first paragraph

Types of Leads:

  • Summary--giving who, what when, where, why, and how. Some summary leads focus on one or two elements of the story and save the others for later in the story.
  • Anecdotal--using a story to illustrate a point. If you use this approach, specificity and concrete detail are essential and the broader significance of the anecdote should be explained within the first few sentences following the lead.
  • Quotes--capturing the essence of the story.
  • Question--asking a question of the reader

Writing Tips:

  • Make your writing accessible to general readers by using direct and concise language.
  • Use active voice to make your writing more interesting. Passive voice can sound dull.
  • Use quotes to support your statements. An expert's voice adds credibility and an element of reality beyond the perspective of the writer.
  • The paragraphs following the lead contain additional details, quotes from sources, statistics, background, or other information. These are added to the article in order of importance, so that the least important items are at the bottom.
  • Anticipate what your audience knows and determine what they need to know.
  • Avoid a conclusion that does little more than summarize the essay. Consider a conclusion that drives home a point.

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