User:Gryllida/Getting started

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How to become a great news writer in 12 weeks (3 months)?[edit]

To start with news writing, from simple to complex, articles can be created -- requested at first, by sharing only a very short description and suggesting a volunteer to finish it for you -- with increasing complexity. The levels of complexity and writing plan are included below.

They are a personal interpretation of the author, Gryllida, and changes can be discussed at the talk page.

Current participants:


Plan to achieving success[edit]

Image by: Asio otus, Chrkl
Licence: GNU GPL v1.2+ & CC-BY-SA-3.0

To participate I recommend these steps:

Today: 1 minute ('quick start')[edit]

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  • 5 seconds to open the style guide and content guide in a new tab, bookmark
  • 30 seconds to recall something that happened today (or this week)
  • 15 seconds to visit this link and write what happened in the subject line, then click submit

Wikinews easy news writing screencast and diagrams - 1.png

Today: 5 minutes ('join')[edit]

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  • bookmark this link in the same web browser in which you are reading news
  • glance at style guide and content guide as much as you are comfortable with, at least a couple minutes
  • to start the note-taking log, visit this page and click save

Wikinews easy news writing screencast and diagrams - 2.png

Level 0 (week 1): 2-3 words[edit]

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By now you have left one news tip (hopefully successful!) and you have started a log where you take notes of the news tips which you have left. This time you simply need to do it again and again a few times -- easy!

  • Aim to submit at least 2-3 requests within the week, to allow time for their writing and review (each request may take a few days to be processed, reviewed, and published). For each request just write the headline and click save.
  • Aim to find something fresh and relevant. Each tip takes a few seconds.
  • You learn the newsworthiness criteria.
  • Every day check the requested articles page for feedback on your submissions, and if an article is in progress, check its history tab and talk tab every day until it is published.

Level 1 (week 2): an URL and a title -- share an URL to something newsworthy[edit]

Update Special:MyPage/news with notes of what tips you left last week, and whether they were successful (if not, then why). Continue leaving at least 2-3 news tips this week - the bookmark for 'request an article' is only one click away! In these next tips:

  • Not only share the headline but also share the URL of a page which you read about it.
  • You learn to share an URL, identify its title and date and publisher and author. *(Firefox addon [1] made by Gryllida may help...)
  • You learn to take notes in the log.

Wikinews easy simple news writing - this week.png

Level 2 (weeks 3, 4): a couple URLs and a title -- share a couple URLs[edit]

  • This time share 2-3 sources not only one.
  • This takes a couple minutes.
  • You learn how to identify independent sources (key to verifiability).
  • Continue leaving at least 2-3 requests every week.
  • Leave a note at your log immediately each time after a submission.

Level 3 (weeks 5, 6): a couple URLs, a title, and a paragraph[edit]

  • This takes a few minutes.
  • This time share not only the headline and a couple URLs, but also a paragraph -- a brief description of what happened.
  • This paragraph answers some of the 5Ws and an H questions:
    Who, what, why, where, when, how.
  • If some of these questions are not answered, spell them out (add 'why the storm occurred - missing').
  • You begin to learn to answer the 5Ws and an H without bias.
  • Continue leaving at least 2-3 requests every week.
  • Leave a note at your log immediately each time after a submission.
Chicken cartoon 04.svg

Level 4 (weeks 7, 8): a couple URLs, a title, and 5Ws&H -- share a couple URLs and all of the 5Ws and an H[edit]

  • This takes about 5-10 minutes.
  • You learn to write all of the 5Ws and an H, this is the first paragraph of a publishable news article
    (often one of the Ws or the H is hidden and mainstream media does not say, may need some digging around and attention! :-) ).
  • Continue leaving at least 2-3 requests every week.
  • Leave a note at your log immediately each time after a submission.
Wikinews inverted pyramid 1.png
Rooster cartoon 04.svg

Level 5 (weeks 9, 10): a couple URLs, a title, 5Ws&H, plus an extra paragraph or two about more details or background[edit]

  • This takes about 10-15 minutes.
  • You learn the inverted pyramid layout
    (something mainstream media often ignores and does not do - Wikinews specific - please look carefully :-) )
    and continue to write without bias (this means with attribution where needed)
  • Continue leaving at least 2-3 requests every week.
  • Leave a note at your log immediately each time after a submission.
Wikinews inverted pyramid 2.png
Rooster clipart 01.svg

Level 6 (week 11, 12): A full article[edit]

  • This takes about 15-30 minutes.
  • You learn to write a bit more content, possibly with
  • Continue writing at least 1-2 articles every week.
  • Leave a note at your log immediately each time after a submission.

Examples[edit]

Diagram schematic[edit]

Please click the first image to navigate the slide show:

An existing article, Airplane crashes into ocean in Micronesia[edit]

Please click the first image to navigate the slide show:

Where to write[edit]

Here steps 1 to 5 can be achieved using the 'request an article' process and a volunteer may finish it for you; step 6 is achieved using the 'write an article' process.

Challenges[edit]

I don't ever have the time.
Level 1 is only a few seconds and already gives you essential skills which increase the likelihood of your advancement to a next step.
Mainstream media lies (or omits information) all the time. I can't figure out precisely what happened.
Level 1 is only the headline. Try to word it in a bias-free way. This is your first step at being neutral. :-) Also find and bookmark news sources which are more clear.
The wiki markup is confusing.
Just forget about it at first. Another volunteer can add it for you. (You can learn it later.)
I don't know what's current.
Find something that happened today and affected a relatively large number of people and is not promotional. This can be a lot easier with local news. If you don't know your local news sources, check Google News.
I lack motivation.
Create a log (described above). Writing at Wikinews gives you a number of skills -- which can not only result in the growth of citizen journalism, but also can be transferred to other tasks in your family, work, and the like.