You Just Know

via huffingtonpost.com

via huffingtonpost.com

Not every story is going to win a Pulitzer. You know as soon as you finish the last sentence in each and every story if it’s good or bad. You can just tell. You, as the writer, know that there are things you should have or could have done. It’s just the way it is.

Sometimes, even before the story, you know how the story is going to come out. I know I do. Take features for example. I can tell you if it’s going to be a good one or not. Walking up to the event or interview for that feature, I have a good idea of what I’m going to write. It’s not set in stone, but I definitely have a really solid picture of how I expect the story to come out.

And it doesn’t end at features. With 10″ to 12″ stories, I can tell how they are going to turn out. After writing a TON of inside stories I can honestly say that they are either good or bad. They can have great information and enough background, but they can just fall flat. It takes a special quote or an interesting premise “idea” to get the story to another level.

It may seem unusual to think that way, but as a writer and journalist I do it without thinking. It’s just the way I work.

I’ve always wondered what readers think or if they can tell when a story was thrown together in an hour or if someone did the leg work to make a great 18″ hard news story. There’s no real way to figure that out, but I’m sure other journalists, of all ages, do the same thing. It’s not that I constantly want feedback, but, rather, I want to know what they are thinking throughout the story.

I haven’t written anything worthy of a Pulitzer, but, one day, I hope to. It’s a lofty goal and one that, I feel, everyone in this profession should strive for.

If you aren’t, then what are you doing?

Jonathan

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