Main story draft

After completing your interview story, move on and finish all your other interviews and gather any remaining information you need to tell a complete story on your subject. Then write a three- to four-page draft (double spaced) of your main IS text.

This draft should weave together documentary and interview sources, making use of direct quotes and paraphrasing from interviews. It’s uncommon to quote directly from documentary sources. Information from previously published pieces should not be included unless it meets these three standards: the information is critical, you can’t get it on your own and you cite the original source.

The piece can have either a straight or feature lead though the latter is more common. It must have a clear structure, allowing the reader to move from one fact to the next logically.

Keep in mind, this should not be a rough draft of your story. It should be as complete as possible. Think about it like a story you would submit to an editor as a finished draft.

Head your typed copy with your approved story angle and a list of the specific communication values your story fulfills (e.g., proximity, conflict, etc.).


How long does it have to be? 

Three or four double-spaced pages is what we specify here on the assignment page, which comes out to 800ish words. But we always say make it as long as it needs to be – and no longer. If you go outside the suggested limit, just make sure to talk to your TA about it.

Can I use some of the material from my interview story in my main story?

Yes. Some people’s interview stories stand alone as a completely separate piece. But for most people, the information in the interview story is later incorporated into the main story. This is fine. It is the only exception to the IS rule that quotes cannot be duplicated between stories.

Do we need to include a source list or transcript with the draft? 

No. We’re going to ask you for a full source list at the end (names, contact info of interview subjects + links to/info about documentary sources). You’ll also put an abbreviated version of that source list on your final site. Transcripts aren’t necessary for this story.

You are required to interview and use information from at least three live sources in the main story of your IS (email interviews don’t count as live sources). You may need to interview more to fill out the whole project.

What should I do if a source wants to remain anonymous? 

Email your instructor. We decide those on a case-by-case basis.

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