OKLAHOMA NEWSPAPER FOUNDATION 3601 N. LINCOLN BLVD. OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73105 (405) 499-0020 ▪ (405) 499-0048 (fax) 1-888-815-2672 (toll-free in OK) DECEMBER 2010 Break out a quick story form You’ve seen alternate story forms, or ASFs, in many newspapers the past few years and everywhere online. An ASF is anything that doesn’t fit the traditional story format. They lend themselves to fact-heavy stories, so charts, boxes, graphic timelines and breakout boxes are all good ASFs. Maps and lists can also be ASFs. Perhaps you’ve wondered how to incorporate them. Every story, from a city council meeting to a play review, has the potential for an ASF. Start with the basic idea – a breakout box. WHY USE A BREAKOUT BOX? Readers look for entry points into blocks of text. Breakout boxes with small, quick chunks of information yell “read me!” If there’s a continuing story – on a murder trial or ongoing construction, for example – breakouts are a good way to include background information, information that has to be included in every story, or teasers to upcoming developments. Boxes should be short, so make them no longer than three inches. What’s next – Use for developing stories, such as city council/ legislative decisions or political campaigns. Also a great device for following local sports teams’ seasons and teasing investigative projects or other stories. Next Game: Pro/Con or For/Against – Use to show major conflicts in a story quickly. WHAT WE KNEW Pull-out quotes or Man-on-thestreet quote boxes – Use to collect related quotes from lots of sources on a subject. This form is good for controversial stories or a subject with lots of voices, or to acquaint readers with major players in an issue. Or just to highlight the knockout quote from a source that makes the story worthy of the front page or a closer look. Hint: Anything that starts out “I almost died” is a good bet for a pull quote. By the numbers – Pulling numbers out of a story and putting them in a box with the important information about them keeps readers’ eyes from glazing over. It can highlight interesting numbers or just break down complex information into easy chunks. Use for numbers-laden pieces, such as articles on Social Security or health insurance. TYPES OF BOXES: Definition – Use to explain terms in jargon-heavy pieces. A glossary helps tell the story on complex subjects. Sources: David Arkin, Gatehouse Media, and poynter.org WHEN Team A vs. Team B WHERE Time and date of event Follow-up: Frances Choy was accused of killing her parents when she was 17. THE LATEST A jury is deliberating her fate. WHAT’S NEXT She could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted. Meeting Glance: Top 3 decisions at last night’s council meeting 1 Taxes will go up 3 percent in 2012. 2 Water mains on Main will close for two hours Dec. 28. 3 A city school’s land buy was postponed. By the Numbers: United Way Campaign 33 Local programs funded by United Way donations $1.95 Million goal $1.75 Million raised to date 10 days remain until Dec. 3 deadline and Victory Celebration.