Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bringing it back!

Good afternoon,
It's been about a year since my last post, but in the meantime, I have been actively engaged in Facebook and I have dabbled in Twitter. I don't care much for the latter, however.

The MCs Talk Shop Facebook page is doing quite well, and I have had the opportunity to reach a lot of folks with small, useful posts. However, I still believe blogging allows a writer to reach more deeper into a topic for discussion. So, I am bringing back the Talk Shop blog! Care to join me?

This weekend is Father's Day, and I have been thinking all day about doing some creative writing about my dad. We are taught at DINFOS to write personality features. I think this would be a cool time to employ some of that from memory and write about the man who raised me. Stay tuned for this posting. I would love to hear what you have to say about your "pops"!

Have a good one,
Senior Weatherspoon

Monday, July 27, 2009

The inverted pyramid ... still necessary?

As mentioned in the Facebook page, I am questioning the relevancy of the inverted pyramid. DINFOS taught us that the inverted pyramid was born during the Civil War. We all adopted it. We have used it for so many years. But, I ask now, is it still needed? How many of our news stories actually end up in newspapers? For the most part, we are uploading the news into Navy Newsstand.

In my opinion, the inverted pyramid still meets the needs of today's readers no matter if they get their news on the Internet, in newspapers or even on their phones. We all claim we are too busy to read a whole story.

So, what are the parts of a news story: Lead, Bridge, Body ...
1. Lead contains the who, what, when and where at a minimum. Sometimes the why and how are available; they should be included if possible.
2. The bridge contains other important facts. Remember WAITS? What does WAITS stand for?
  • W- the five W or H not found in the lead
  • A- attribution (a quote)
  • I- identification ... remember the impersonal who? We can discuss that at a different time.
  • T- tie-back to a previous story or event
  • S- secondary information of significant importance.

3. The body contains other lesser-important details in descending order of importance.

Happy writing ... look forward to reading them all.

Today's photo comes to us from Mr. Joseph P. Cirone -- an interesting photo.

Have a great day!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Welcome USS Hawaii (SSN 776)

Aloha, USS Hawaii and crew! Welcome to Pearl Harbor.

Better yet, great job Hawaii-based MCs, who pulled together to cover such a wonderful event. From shooting video to shooting stills to escorting media, the MCs here made it happen. We had folks on the sub, in a helo, in a tower and on the pier.

If you would like to check out the coverage, visit

The photo here was shot by MC2(AW) Meagan Klein. Can you see Diamondhead in the background? Great job, Shipmates!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Adding a Facebook page

Hey everyone. It seems that this blog needs to give birth to a FB page to complement what I am trying to do here. Join me there ... and here :)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Our history ... historic or historical

Aloha, Shipmates. Tonight I am chilling out watching the Military Channel -- more specifically, a documentary on the Battle of Gettysburg. I have been to this historic battlefield several times, and I have taken tours from battlefield historians. But, tonight, my focus was directed toward the soldiers and the many civilians who took time to document this battle. I would say, my friends, that as Navy journalists, we have the responsibility of ensuring that today's conflicts and events are documented for future generations. How cool is that?

Today, we also welcome social media, which, if you ask me, is another means by which we can tell our story. Have any of you created a blog to tell about your experiences? Anyone in your respective commands? I think there are ways to take these blogs and publish them. Again, how cool is this?

COMPACFLT public affairs is working on an aggregator for Navy blogs. We not only want to highlight command blogs, but quality blogs from our shipmates, who are are writing about their personal experiences. If you know if any, please pass that on to us. Thanks.
Would love to hear more about how our MCs are using social media to tell the Navy story. Rumor has it, guidance is in the works by our PA/VI leadership; so if some of you are being held back from using social media, your time may come soon. Nonetheless, MCPON is even on Facebook. Check it out.

Before I close, something of the stylebook kind came to my mind -- historic vs. historical. Would you say that the Battle of Gettysburg is historic or historical? Historic, I would say. Why is that? Something historical is anything that happened in history. Events of major significance are historic. The Battle of Gettysburg definitely fits this category. Another example ... a ship's homecoming, I would say, is historical. The commissioning of a ship? Now that's a good question. For an internal publication, this may be an historic event. Your thoughts?

Look forward to hearing from some folks. Please share this blog if you would like.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What's all this attribution stuff all about...

So, in basic journalism, we are taught to use attribution when we need to give credit to someone else for saying something. We attribute opinions, medical information, facts that are not easily verifiable. But, I must ask. Do some of you input attribution just to say you have used quotes? In other words, do we put quotes in our stories that really don't need to be quotes?

I encourage everyone to only use quotes when the quotes are necessary for one of the reasons above and when the quotes truly add depth and interest to the news articles we write. Boring quotes can be paraphrased.

To obtain good quotes, one has to start with good questions during the interview phase of your story building. When we cover events with guest speakers, we must remember to obtain more information for the news article from more sources than just the speaker. Talk to folks in the audience. Talk to coordinators. I encourage writers to not limit themselves to the speaker's comments.

As a former judge in the CHINFO Merit award competition, I can tell you that great stories -- award-winning stories -- have depth in their quotes.
That's all I want to say about that ...

Now, for today's photo ... let's send a shot out to MCSN Oliver Cole. Great photo, shipmate!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Pacific Partnership

Check out the Pacific Partnership 2009 blog. Great work out there folks!