What is an “issue” story?

Take a quick look at this package from the Detroit Free Press newspaper:

http://media.freep.com/pitbulls/index.html

The issue: pit bulls — more specifically, are these dogs always dangerous? Is dog fighting (for gambling, for profit) the main reason why these dogs are often negatively portrayed? Why do people keep pit bulls, if the people are not expecting the dog to cause harm?

Note the way the issue immediately yields QUESTIONS. You want to address the questions in the story package. You might not be able to answer them all! But if there are NO questions, then what the heck IS your story about?

Now, think back to the way I constructed your in-class exercise on Thursday. Look at this package about pit bulls. Are you happy, as a reader — as a seeker of information — that the package modules are named:

  • Video Gallery
  • Photo Gallery
  • About This Project
  • Join the Discussion

Do these labels help you decide whether you want to spend time with this package, with this STORY?

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About Mindy McAdams
I teach courses about digital journalism at the University of Florida. I love to travel. I ride a Vespa. You can find me on Twitter (@macloo).

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