Short News Story

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This is a major class assignment that encourages students to look at the facts of a news story, analyze the available material, and write the story in the appropriate news format. The final story should be ready for publishing with minimal editing.


This assignment should be:

Between 200250 words long (minimum 200 words, no exceptions)

Typed, double-spaced, and in 12-point Times New Roman font

printed and stapled

The assignment must have a cover page, which must include:

the name of the course

the name of the instructor

your name

the assignment’s title

the date of submission

the number of words in your story

Attention should be paid to:

grammar, punctuation, accuracy, clarity, and organization

proper use of inverted pyramid format and proper use of AP style

Due Date and Grading

The Short News Story is due on Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, at the beginning of class.Deadline is firm and enforced. To get full credit for the assignment, this is the latest it may be turned in. Even five minutes past the deadline counts as being late. You will lose fivepoints if your story is turned in late during our class time. You will lose two points if you turn in a story without a cover sheet. Stories turned in after the class ends are considered a day late.

Stories must be printed and handed in; I will not accept any stories by email. If your story isn’t ready on Feb. 14 and you turn it in at the next class (Feb. 17), you will only earn half-credit (maximum of 20 points instead of 40). No stories will be accepted after Feb. 17. Stories turned in one or more days late are not eligible for rewrites.

You will be graded on many areas including grammar, format, use of AP style, etc. Because accuracy is crucial in mass media writing, you will lose 10 points for every factual error.


Write an inverted pyramid news story using information from the quotes provided; pretend that you interviewed these people for the story, and this is what they told you. You don’t have to use all the information, only what you think is best. Make sure you have all the elements of a news story, including a headline, strong lead, attribution, and both direct and indirect quotes. The story should be fair and balanced. Do not make up any facts and/or quotes; work only with the information provided. IMPORTANT: Unless you’re using a direct quote, you must put the material into your own words. Do not copy and paste.

Quote from Officer Scott Foust of the Orlando Police Department:

We had a little disturbance at one of the local schools this morning. This happened at SpringLake High School, which has a little over 2,000 students. A student named Jimmy Alomar was arrested in his first class right after school started at about 7:30. This happened because someone…another student from the school, that is, called our department to report that Mr. Alomar had posted something disturbing on his Instagram account. When we looked, we found a photo of Mr. Alomar holding something that looked like a semi-automatic handgun with a caption that read Look out, there’s gonna be a lot of excitement at school tomorrow.

After Mr. Alomar was arrested and brought to the police station, he said the gun in the photo was really a water pistol and the whole thing was just a joke. But whether or not that’s true, we have to take every claim seriously. Situations like this aren’t funny, and we treat every possible threat like it’s the real thing. Lots of students saw that post and many of them stayed home today because they were scared stiff.

Officers searched the Alomar household after the arrest and they did find a water pistol that looks like the item Mr. Alomar is holding in the photo. Since Mr. Alomar is only 18 years old and has no prior criminal record, he is now being charged with communicating threats, which is a misdemeanor. If he’s found guilty, he could spend up to six months in jail or pay a fine of up to $1,000. He should probably consider himself lucky, though. If the prosecutor had chargedhim with a felony, this joke of his might have landed him behind bars for years. That’s just…I mean, it could have been much worse for him.

Quote from Don Alomar, Jimmy’s father:

“This whole thing is so unreal, it’s…just terrible, like a terrible dream. Jimmy’s not some kind of criminal and he’s never been in trouble before. He screwed up by posting that photo, but that’s not…I mean, he shouldn’t go to jail for it. I know he should…he needs to be punished, but arresting a kid in the middle of class and then locking him up for posting a picture is too harsh.”

Quote from Tiffany Jefferson, principal of Spring Lake High School:

“Look, Jimmy’s a senior. I’ve known him for four years, and he’s basically a good kid. Honestly, I think he was just trying to get attention and used some really poor judgement. This was a huge mistake, but I hope he can bounce back from it. Seriously, I really do.

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