LOQUITUR MANUAL / WORKFLOW

Stories:

  • You will usually receive one story assignment every TWO weeks.  The story will be for either News, Lifestyles, Perspectives, Multimedia or Sports.
  • You’ll get your assignment in an email from your editor, through a Web site called Basecamp. The assignment will give your SLUG or short name of the story, an ANGLE or general approach you should take, the expected length, and some SOURCES or people/places to get your information from. You will be given a deadline and basic guidelines. Your editor will also give you their contact information.
  • You should always follow the directions in your assignment sheet. 
  • You can always go above and beyond what you’re given. 
  • You can interview MORE people, but not FEWER. Stories should have MULTIPLE sources and they should not be your friends. You gain readers by interviewing people outside your circle.
  • All stories should have visuals of some sort that will attract your readers/viewers.
  • You can always call or email your editor if you are having a problem and they can troubleshoot with you.
  • You should always try to get interviews on video, if you are able. You can always write based on what video you record, and can then use the video to create a visual piece as well.

Make your interview appointments ASAP.

  • People are busy and may have to schedule an interview in a few days.
  • https://directory.cabrini.edu/
  • Your interviews should be Facetime, Zoom, or phone in place of the preferred face to face during the pandemic. Interview people on their territory so you can observe details about them.
  • Think through questions and find out background information. Never ask a question that you should have researched beforehand.

For any interview…

  • Dress appropriately. It is not professional to show up for an interview in sweatpants…use your best judgement for how casual the situation is. 
  • Be respectful. Not only to them (of course) but of their time. Arrive on time with questions that are relevant.

Incredible Background Resources

WRITTEN PIECES

Taking notes

  • Listen carefully. Write down key points. If you hear something especially well said, try to write that down accurately as a quote. You will have just a few word-for-word quotes in a story; most will be in your own words, so understanding is key.
  • Get their names, titles (faculty/staff), or major and year (student). Get the best way to check back with them, like their phone number or email.   
  • Go back to someplace quiet and write down what you heard.
  • Start writing whenever you have something to get going with. Sometimes your lead comes easily, sometimes it’s murder.
  • You can use your smartphone to record interviews, but MUST ask the interviewee if that is okay with them first.

Your lead

  • Your lead is the first sentence or two. It is what catches a reader. It contains the gist of the story. Our textbook has a lot of ledes. Therefore, I won’t give much here. But here’s a bit:
  • It should have the most important news in it. Don’t take a couple of paragraphs to get into the news. Begin with something that will grab and hold the reader’s attention. It should be based on one single point that will draw the attention of the reader.
  • *Bad example: The college budget will include reductions for some areas while others will receive increases…
  • *Better example: Students depending on financial aid may not be able to return to college next year due to the high cuts that President Trump has asked for in student loans and grants…
  • *Bad example — burying the lead: “Last Tuesday night, April 20, John Smith lectured in the Widener Center Lecture Hall (WCLH) on the importance of Israeli–PLO peace agreement.  The lecture attracted a large number of students as well as people from outside the college.  It was marred, however, when irate protesters of Smith’s speech stormed the room, fatally shooting him.” –Bad because it starts with the date and the news is at the end.
  • Do not put your opinion in the story. (Bad example: We hope the team does well this year. — That is the reporter’s opinion and it must be removed.)
  • Make sure that you are reporting and not giving your opinion without realizing it.

Attribution

  • Give the source of all info throughout the article (that’s called attribution.”).
  • Be sure to give proper attribution to all sources (Use titles).

Body of your story

  • Stick with shorts paragraphs. (2-3 sentences)
  • Be specific and use strong details.
  • Get strong quotes to support the article.
  • Make sure there are not any unanswered questions.
  • News stories don’t have endings. They stop.

Formula for a Well-Written News Article:

First paragraph

– In your first one or two sentences tell who, what, when, where, and why. Try to hook the reader by beginning with a funny, clever, or surprising statement. Go for variety: try beginning your article with a question or a provocative statement.

Second/Third/Fourth paragraphs

-Give the reader the details. Include one or two quotes from people you interviewed. Write in the third person (he, she, it, they). Be objective — never state your opinion. Use quotes to express other’s opinions!

Last paragraph

-Wrap it up somehow (don’t leave the reader hanging. Please don’t say….”In conclusion” or “To finish…” yawn!) Try ending with a quote or a catchy phrase.

-Use active words (verbs that show what’s really happening.)

Take notes when you interview. Write down quotes! Tell the really interesting info first!

Editing:

 VISUAL PIECES

Loquitur Media’s 3 kinds of videos:

    Note: All videos need a Title and Caption turned in with the link for publication.

  • Video Picture.  Really short video of a few scenes taken and edited by the J1 or J2 reporter.  Created to accompany a Loquitur Media text story.
  • Video Explainer.  60-90 second basic visual recap of event or topic.  Shooting a video sequence to show the major points of what the Loquitur Media story covers.  Must include at least one interview.  May include voice-over introduction and titles. Could be more creative than a Backgrounder.
  • Video Backgrounder.  3-4 minute visual story explaining the context of the topic and localizing the coverage with interviews.  Should include at least 5 sources plus graphics.  May include a stand-up introduction by a reporter.  Should have 7-second title at the beginning and should be a complete story when viewed on its own.
  • If using a college camcorder to record video, set the recording quality to 1080/30fps (FHD) on the Canon 80D’s or the Panasonic SDHC HMC150 camcorders. Set the shutter speed to 60 (or 1/60 depending on the camera you use). On 80D, if unsure or unprepared, shoot in Auto mode (the Green A sign on the dial). If prepared and experienced, use the Manual mode (the M dial on the dial). Make sure your white balance is either AWB or set to another appropriate Kelvin amount. 

Setting up for a video interview

  • Reserve the equipment with enough time before the interview so that you can test it out and make sure each piece of equipment is functioning properly.
  • Always try to arrive at the recording location early so you can set up the equipment beforehand nearby, This way you’re not wasting your interviewee’s time. 
  • Once the camera power is turned on, remember to white balance and calibrate on the subject.
  • Have interviewees in front of something that is not just a plain white wall, but not so distracting that it takes away from their speaking. Frame them using the rule of thirds (not directly centered, somewhat off to the side).
  • DO NOT RECORD SUBJECT IN FRONT OF A WINDOW, especially if light is coming through.
  • Whoever is asking the questions should stand on the opposite side of where the person is framed on the camera, so it looks as though they are speaking to the open space on camera. Tell the subject to look at the person asking questions, not the camera.
  • Start the interview by having the subject state and spell their full name and then state their title.  Play back this clip to confirm proper recording and  you can create a proper lower third when editing. 
  • USE HEADPHONES! This is the only way you will truly know if your audio is recording correctly.  You can use your earphones that you generally use on your phones.
  • Do not respond out loud during interviews. Nodding and eye contact are important, but even “mmhm” could be picked up by the mic and would make that section unusable.
  • If possible, use a phone to record back up audio, just in case something is wrong with the microphone equipment. The voice memo app on the iPhone works well enough. Or you can use an app the like iRig.
  • Make sure to ALWAYS USE A MICROPHONE for your interview. Every 80D pack has 2 microphones in it: one lavaliere and one mini shot-gun mic. For sit-down interviews, use a lavalier mic (you can go directly into your 80D with the TRRS to TRS adapter). For run and gun, quick stand up interviews, use the shot-gun microphone. While using the shot-gun mic, be sure to get as close to the subject as possible. On 80D’s when you’re on Manual Mode, you should control your Audio Input Lever. If you’re on Auto Mode, the camera will control it for you. This is not ideal, but will yield useable results.

Recording with your phone

  • Turn your phone sideways to film horizontally, not vertically. 
  • Tap the screen to focus and set exposure before beginning to record.
  • Put your phone in airplane mode so your recording won’t be interrupted. 
  • Use an external microphone (smart pack) if you need to use people’s words

Editing Videos

  • If adding music to your videos, it MUST be copyright free. See full copyright rules below.
  • Take note of where you save your work in the edit bays. . It should be on a drive that is accessible by the editors as well (the Work Drive or Loquitur Media Drive), not your personal desktop or hard drive.
  • There are tips for editing in the walls in each edit bay. Follow them for starting a new project, voiceovers, etc. 
  • Don’t put credits for yourself at end of a Loquitur Media piece.  Make a different version for your portfolio with credits.
  • Stretch the LOQ name key to edge of the screen.
  • No fades to black at the end of your pieces
  • Create graphics to move video along visually if you use long sound bites, especially if the interviewee names dates and locations of a list of events.
    • Use sans serif fonts for better legibility
    • When creating full screen graphics for your videos, be sure they are at least the same resolution as your timeline (1920 X 1080)
    • Since most views will be via mobile devices, make graphics simple and bold.  
  • Use V/O bridge to change topics within your piece.  Lead your viewers to the new ideas with your V/O.

Fonts and Lower Thirds

  • Lower thirds should be included for all interviews in a video piece, using the Loquitur Media lower third located in the “Loquitur Media Assets” folder in the edit bays
  • All lower thirds and other writing such as photo, video, or music credits should be typed in the font Georgia
  • Lower thirds should stretch across the entirety of the screen horizontally using the transform editing tool
  • Any credits should use the blank Loquitur Media strip (without the bug attached) and be located across the bottom of the screen

Submitting Your Video Pieces

  1. The day your video is due all video drafts should be posted on the old Loquitur Newspaper youtube account. https://www.youtube.com/user/loquiturnewspaper as an UNLISTED video.
    1. Username: loquiturnewspaper
    2. Password: newsroom
  2. Email the link after uploading your videos to: Faith and Maria and include your partner on the email. If you’d like, you could also send it to the video specialists for each section for more critiques.
  3. You will get comments back on your rough draft. After you make any necessary editing changes, export the video to a .mov file and reupload it to the loquiturnewspaper YouTube FINAL account. Only editors have this login.
  4. Let your managing editor, the editor-in-chief, and the professor know in an email that your piece is complete and ready for upload, including in the email a caption for the video.
  5. Complete the Team Evaluation doc for that video to receive full credit for the piece. 

Photography

  • Whenever capturing a photo with a person in it, be sure to ask their name (if relevant to the story) for the caption.
  • Be sure your photos do not have odd file names (Ex: 039485.jpg) if the file name will appear on the site.. This happens with sites like Photosnack, Storify, Flickr. 
  • Always have your camera ready. Important things do not wait for you to get your camera out. 
  • Try to place your subject in a shady location if shooting outdoors – direct sun will cast unwanted shadows on your subject 
  • For indoor images try to have your subject face a window to get best possible light on their face 
  • NEVER use the zoom on your phone – just move closer to your subject  

Creating multimedia pieces/ graphics

  • All of your work must be created using the official Loquitur Media accounts, not a personal account. This is so editors can access and edit your work once submitted.
  • Below are the account passwords for all current Loquitur accounts for typical graphics/photo/multimedia creation sites. Use them! 
  • If you find another site you’d prefer to use, tell an editor or adviser so they can create an official Loquitur account to be used.
  • Loquitur Media Account Logins: 
WebsiteWhat the website doesUsernamePassword
addthis.comShows top stories based on social medialoquitur@cabrini.edu
canva.comUse to make graphicsloquiturnewspaper@gmail.com
flickr.comUpload and make album of eventloquiturnewspaper@gmail.com
My MapsAnnotate Google Maps. Instructions.loquiturnewspaper@gmail.com
photosnack.comCreates photo slideshowsloquiturnewspaper@gmail.com
piktochart.comMakes interactive graphics with live links(good for charts and data)loquiturnewspaper@gmail.com
chronicle.comUse for background info and story ideasjzurek@cabrini.edu
chartbeat.comUse to check analyticsloquiturnewspaper@gmail.com
infogr.amUse to make infographicscabrinicom
Sutori.comMultimedia timelines. Template.loquiturnewspaper@gmail.com
thinglink.comAdd multimedia to pics or mapsloquiturnewspaper@gmail.com
timetoast.comCreates timelinesloquiturnewspaper@gmail.com
Snapchatsocial media apploquiturmedia

Posting Your Work on Social Media/Rules for Engagement

Tips for posting:

  • When posting articles on social media make sure to add a picture to the post not just a link. 
  • A link is far more likely to get clicked on when it has a picture. 
  • On average you have 20 seconds to engage your reader. 
  • Pull them in with an attention grabber. Instead of, “Check this out”. Try this, “The cafeteria gets their food from where ? 
  • The sentence should be informational but also draws your reader to the link. 
  • On Facebook the best times to post your articles or any work for both classes is in between 4 and 9pm. 
  • On Twitter the best times to post are 12pm to 10pm. 
  • When posting articles on social media be sure to tag the people, clubs or organizations that are in the article. 
  • Tagging those in the actual article helps to increase readership. 
  • These are your portfolio pieces and you should be sharing constantly. 

Submitting your work

How to file your stories on WordPress:

  1. Go to http://theloquitur.com/wp-admin   
  2. Your login name was set up as firstnamelastname. newsroom was the initial password.
  3. Choose New Post.
  4. Type a potential headline 
  5. Choose Categories (the section that the story will go into)
  6. Scroll down and find Notification Subscriptions and check off your name and your editor’s
  7. Type your story in the box or you can write your stories in Word, if you’d like, and then paste into WordPress. DON’T paste directly but choose the little icon with the W and paste it into the pop-up window. BE SURE you’ve edited to the best of your ability. Your editing affects your grade.
  8. Insert any graphics/photos/videos into the post by selecting “Add Media” and uploading the file, or embedding it into the post with a YouTube link or an embed code from the website it was created on. 
  9. Choose Save frequently.
  10. When finished, Choose 02 Ready for Editing, select OK and Select Save as 02 Ready for Editing
  11. If the story is not being posted immediately by an editor, you will receive revisions within the same week. Make the corrections to the article that Dr. Zurek and/or Editor says to, then make sure they are sent back in within 48 hours.
  12. Choose 04 Resubmission

Importance of Deadlines

Remember that we are depending on these articles and we work on a very tight deadline. We cannot have people handing in stories late! If you are having trouble with the article, talk to the section editors or your story conference person as soon as possible so we can help you, because there are no extensions!

On-Deadline Pieces

  • These must be submitted ASAP. For articles like sports games, event recaps, etc., the story should be posted before the next day!
  • If you are unable to make it to an event for which you must do an on-deadline story, tell your editor immediately after getting the assignment so they can reassign it to someone who can.
  • After posting your piece on WordPress, notify your Editor immediately so they can continue on with the posting process. The Editor will go about notifying the Web and Social Media teams. 

Getting credit for completed assignments:

  • In order to officially be completed the assignment, you must check it as completed in Basecamp. 
  • Log in to Basecamp, go to “to-do’s,” find your assignment and check the box next to it. When the box is checked and green, you are done!

Tips for particular sections 

News:

  1. Begin with a strong lead that presents the news immediately. 
  2. Be specific, use strong details, making sure that you are reporting and not giving your opinion.
  3. Get strong quotes throughout to support the article giving proper attribution to all sources.

Perspectives:

  1. Take a firm stand on something. Make sure you choose a side that you feel is important supporting your side 100%.  Do not flip your opinion.
  2. Always write what you are feeling.  Do not “sugar-coat” it.
  3. Have fun with perspectives. It is your OPINION so it cannot be wrong.

Lifestyles/Features:

  1. Begin with something that will grab and hold the reader’s attention based on one single point that draws in the reader.
  2. Literary techniques, anecdotes, and relevant quotations make a strong lead.
  3. Feature stories are not opinion pieces, though they must capture human interest in a subject that is not considered hard news.

Lifestyles/Arts and Entertainment:

  1.  When covering events, make sure to pick up details.  It’s up to the reporter to give the reader an explanation/ description the people and places.
  2.  In Movie/book/TV reviews give some opinion to it.  Reviews are meant to be your view, but do not give away everything.  Leave the reader wanting to watch/read it for him or herself.
  3. A&E is a place where you can get really creative in your writing. Take advantage of it!

Sports:

  1. For games on campus: Take down as many details as possible and write with enthusiasm and your own creative sense. Remember DO NOT favor any team or show opinion. Give the facts.
  2. The more details the better; act as if the reader is finding this information out for the first time.
  3. For covering professional game updates: Write the story as if you’ve actually been to the game. Bring the feel of the game to the reader.

Copyright Guidelines

You can use Creative Commons-licensed materials as long as you follow the license conditions. One condition of all CC licenses is attribution.

For examples on the best way to attribute visit:

https://wiki.creativecommons.org/wiki/Best_practices_for_attribution

Some good sites to find typically usable pieces (you MUST check the license conditions before using any piece) …

For Photos

For Videos

For Music/Sound Effects

There are plenty of options so do not ever use copyrighted material. If you are unsure, ask an editor/adviser or find something else to use!

Excellent sources and advice: Copyright-free images: Tips on how to find free photos and graphics.


 LOQUITUR MEDIA HANDBOOK – Fall 2020

LOQUITUR MEDIA PACKAGE PROCEDURES:

· Professional & courteous behavior at all times when working on Loquitur Media. 

—>You represent all of us when you’re out recording.

· Use writing style from this handout for scripts.

·     Prepare interview questions ahead of time. Makes interview and story SO much better. ‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail’

·     Use a tripod.

·     Use earphones when recording to monitor sound quality.

·     Do a test recording and play it back before you start an interview to double-check quality.

·     Shoot cutaways, b-roll, reaction shots for all packages.  Record interviewee spelling their name.

·     Follow editing & uploading instructions on “Editing Instructions For Loquitur Media Packages” later in this manual.·    For full credit, packages must be on time, error-free, and have no significant production defects.