STORY REVIEW

Newswriting Checklist

I. The Lead

1. Number of words in your lead:____ (If your lead exceeds 30 words about three typed lines it probably requires rewriting.)

2. Number of ideas in your lead:___

3. Is your lead a simple sentence?

Yes___ No, it probably requires rewriting

4. Is your lead likely to interest your friends?

Yes___ No, it probably requires rewriting

5. Does your lead emphasize your story's most recent, important and unusual details?

Yes___ No, it probably requires rewriting

6. Is your lead specific: so specific that readers can visualize the story?

Yes___ No, it probably requires rewriting

7. Have you avoided using any jargon or unfamiliar names in your lead?

Yes___ No, it probably requires rewriting

8. Does your lead contain a strong, active, descriptive verb?

Yes___ No, it probably requires rewriting

II. The Body

1. Have you provided a transition from your lead to your second paragraph?

Yes___ No, the second paragraph requires rewriting

2. Does the second paragraph emphasize the news interesting or important details about the topic summarized in your lead not background information or details about some other topic? Yes___ No, the second paragraph requires rewriting

3. How many words are in the body's longest sentence?___ (If the sentence exceeds 30 words, it may require rewriting.)

4. How many words are in the body's average sentence?___ (If the average sentence exceeds 20 words, your entire story may require rewriting.)

5. What percentage of your sentences contain a weak verb: "is," "are," "was" or "were"?___ (Circle all your story's weak verbs.)

6. List your story's strongest most active and descriptive verbs: ______________

7. What percentage of your sentences begin with a clause or phrase?

8. What percentage of your sentences begin with "there.is," "there are, "there was," "there were" "it is,"  or "it was" ? ___

9. Have you used good quotations? Yes___ No___

10. Have you used good descriptions? Yes___ No

11. Have you explained or defined every unfamiliar term?

Yes___ No, the story requires rewriting

12. Have you avoided all jargon, cliches and euphemisms?

Yes___ No, the story requires rewriting

13. Have you avoided sentences that would sound awkward in a casual conversation with friends?

Yes___ No, the story requires rewriting

14. Have you also avoided sentences that:

A. State the obvious?            Yes      No

B. Report what did not happen?   Yes___ No_

C, Are wordy or redundant?     Yes___ No_

III. Finally, Have You

1. Continually emphasized the details most likely to interest your readers? Yes___ No___

2. Emphasized the human element? Yes___ No___

3. Used specific examples and anecdotes? Yes___ No___

4. Used short, plain, familiar words? Yes___ No___

5. Used the normal word order: subject, verb and direct object? Yes___ No___

6. Interviewed some of the people likely to be affected by your story, not just the policy makers responsible for it?

Yes     No