Finding a focus

I’m a couple days late (sorry — recovering from an illness), but here’s what I’d like you to do with your notes and your thoughts from Thursday’s interviewing exercise: Post (in the comments below this) two things:

  1. Your thoughts on the focus you’d take on Frank from Thursday’s interview; feel free to elaborate on further reporting you would do.
  2. Your lead. This should set the tone for the piece and give me (the reader) a strong hint  of where you plan to go with your profile.

I’d like to see this in this space before 5 p.m. tomorrow. You should spend more time thinking than writing.

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16 Responses to Finding a focus

  1. yoobi55 says:

    1.Before deciding the focus I’d take on Frank’s profile, it is important to establish what kind of magazine would be publishing this article. Therefore, because he was a business copy-editor at the San Jose Mercury, the Seattle Times and the Puget Sound Business Journal, I think I would be better off choosing a business/technology-related magazine. However, I’m assuming that most of my classmates would choose that topic, so I would instead focus on his transition based on his final In Hindsight column at because I sensed that he sounded nostalgic when he was saying goodbye to his readers and “Silicon Valley titans.”

    2.So, My lead would go like this…
    “Not everybody can sign off a column by bidding a warm farewell to Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, but Frank Russell did just that in his final In Hindsight piece for the Mercury News. Russell, who used to spend his week writing about Silicon Valley tech titans, is anticipating the echo of a mid-Missouri lecture hall in exchange for his west coast experiences.”

  2. screports says:

    My focus would be on Frank’s move to Missouri. I would detail his decision to go on sabbatical for a year to teach. Since we are writing for an alum magazine, I figure they’d be most interested in his reasons for coming to Columbia.

    My lead would go something like the below:
    “Just about now, as the temperatures are residing in the upper 90s, Frank Russell may be regretting his decision to move to sweltering Columbia to teach after spending his formative years writing in cool California.”

  3. 1. If I were to write a profile on Frank Russell, I would focus on his views on the future of journalism. As a visiting editor the Missourian, I think his vision of the future of journalism could be interesting and relevant to our readers.

    2. My lead would go something like this: Frank Russell, visiting editor at the Columbia Missourian, said that he thinks print readership will continue to decline—but that may not be an entirely bad thing. These changes would force journalists to figure out how to make online news work, he said.

    • reedkath says:

      I like this approach. Thanks, Abby.

      How about ” …— but that may not be an entirely bad thing. IT (INSTEAD OF ‘these changes’) would force journalists to figure out….”

  4. donbaik says:

    I would focus on what Frank has contributed to online journalism and print journalism in California. Then, I would like to show that Frank will also do something constructive for online or print journalism in Missouri because of his abundant work experience as an online editor for two years and copy desk chief for two years in San Jose Mercury News.

    My lead would be like this:
    Frank Russell’s passion, efforts for online and print journalism in California moves into Columbia, Missouri. Russell, online editor at San Jose Mercury News, brings his professional experiences for 10 years in California to

  5. Hecklaurac says:

    I would focus on Frank’s background – the way he has obseved and participated in online journalism since he first started to watch for it in 1996, he said. One of the main hooks I would use would be when he spoke of the Missourian being the first to try web-first publications. I would tie that in to his experience at Mercury News, his enthusiasm for online news and his vision/excitement for the web-based future of journalism. Through these things, I can demonstrate how helpful and interactive he has the chance to be with us at the Missourian.

    Lead: From Silicon Valley to Boone County, visiting Missourian editor Frank Russel travels with his knowledge, experience and, most importantly, enthusiasm for online journalism.

  6. hollybender says:

    1.) Thoughts on the focus I’d take: Since our assignment was to write an article for our school’s alumni magazine, my profile would be a Q & A that would 1.) start out with concise biographical information about Frank, 2.) transition into a concise description of what changes to our campus Russell could make by applying his expertise and collaborating with other outstanding MU professors, 3.) explain what students and professors could learn from him and what lessons they can apply after he leaves, 4.) then branch out into a more elaborate, personal profile with colorful quotes from Russell about his riveting experiences in the field. Here’s a loose outline:
    1.) “Who is Frank Russell?”
    “…He’s a revolutionary in the journalism industry who is returning to Columbia from California as a Knight visiting editor. The business and technology expert has experience as an editor at San Jose Mercury News, The Seattle Times, the Puget Sound Business Journal, and the Los Angeles Daily News.
    2.) “What does he bring to the table?”
    I would paraphrase the content of the story he’s written at this link [], and I’d interview Russell about what he sees as his role in the future of journalism—after all, becoming a Knight is very prestigious, and only a certain number of outstanding people are recognized in this way every year. Here’s a link to one of his favorite articles (according to his Google+ account) that may get him talking:
    3.) “What will go on behind the scenes?”
    I would describe how he’s collaborate with professors and students, and I’d map out a vague outline of what he plans to accomplish at MU.
    4.) “How did he get here?”
    This is where a more detailed background profile and personal information would go.

    The lead: “Another Knight comes to MU armed with training that will revolutionize the future of journalism…….” (and then note something specific Russell says from sections 2 or 3 in my outline above—something specific about HOW he will make an impact and how that will impact our school, community and the industry)… “His collaboration with students, professors and past Knights will keep MU at the head of the pack as a world leader in producing exceptional journalists whose innovative efforts will transform the way people receive and use news today and in the future…..”

    • reedkath says:

      Well, Frank was pretty clear about the fact that he is a not a visionary so I don’t think you could call him a revolutionary. And I don’t think it’s factually correct that he’s “returning to Columbia.” He is not an alum.

      “His collaboration with students, professors and past Knights will keep MU at the head of the pack as a world leader in producing exceptional journalists whose innovative efforts will transform the way people receive and use news today and in the future…..” Be careful to stick to the facts, and avoid PR writing like “will keep MU at the head of the pack,” which is conjecture or opinion or both and not news writing.

      If I were your editor on this story, I would ask you to look back at your notes and give it another shot.

  7. hoffsarahj says:

    Depending on the publication I would decide what information would be appropriate and interesting for the readers. I would probably focus on his transition to the University of Missouri and how he expects to see journalism and technology intersect based on his extensive experience in business and technology.

    Frank Russell said he feels like he was fated to come to the Missouri School of Journalism. Russell is bringing his knowledge from working in Silicon Valley, the root of the technological revolution, to the Columbia Missourian newsroom.

  8. 1. My focus would be on Frank’s background with journalism in California and his passion for business and technology, but with more of a focus on his move to Columbia, and what he hopes to contribute as a visiting editor. I would also like to do some additional reporting on who Frank is personally, what else interests him, what inspires him, etc. to keep the article from becoming too technical.

    2. Lead — From the moment he began reading The St. Louis Post-Dispatch as a kid, Frank Russell knew he wanted to pursue a career in journalism. He now joins the Missourian as a visiting editor, after many years as an online editor of business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News.

  9. Olivia says:

    I would take the focus of the transition of journalism going from print to online, and how much social media ties in to the news world. I would mention a lot of Frank’s articles because he wrote a lot about different social media networks and how they’re evolving.
    A possible lede may look like:
    Tweeting rather than reading is the approach some loyal newsreaders take as the social media network continues to evolve. Editor, Frank Russell explains that as long as the online news is presented correctly, it won’t be a negative change for journalism.

  10. Alex Wood says:

    1. In my opinion, everyone has an interesting story. What differentiates Russell’s story from the rest is his knowledge and experience in journalism, technology and technology-related journalism. There aren’t many people who have watched the rise of technology and its effect on journalism for as long and as closely as Frank, and this is where his opinion becomes truly valuable. My focus would be on Frank’s analysis of the state of technology today, and specifically its effect on journalism. Basically, is technology the death of journalism or responsible for a new and possibly better-than-ever era for the industry?

    2. With the emergence of online news and decline of print readership, journalism is rapidly changing. Despite the potential disappearance of daily papers looming, Frank Russell sees these changes as opportunities to redefine the industry.

  11. Jonas Weir says:

    I would focus on Frank Russell coming to MU as a visiting editor. His background in business and technology writing coupled with his online editing experience, it seems like he can bring a lot to the table. The world of journalism is changing and Frank Russell has kind of been at the forefront of it. The story would definitely about what he can do at the journalism school.

    “Frank Russell wouldn’t go as far as to say that daily print newspapers are going to die out in 15 years, but that’s what he thinks.”

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