Journalism – The Attention Grabbing Topic Sentence
By Elaine Ernst Schneider
Objective(s): By the end of this lesson the student will be able to:
Pre Class Assignment:
Basic writing skills should include correct spelling, strong sentence structure, and standard punctuation. It should also have a topic sentence that gives the main point of the paragraph. In journalism, the topic sentence is often the first sentence and is designed to grab the interest of the reader or listener.
Let’s suppose that you are a reporter for a new sports station and you have just interviewed your favorite athlete. You must now take the information you learned in the interview and write your presentation. Later, the news crew will make cue cards from the presentation that you write. You will be live on television, reading those cue cards; so how you word your presentation is very important. You want to hold the viewers’ attention!!
Think of an opening sentence that will make people want to hear the rest of your thoughts. Here are some examples:
1. Hello, this is Radar Rick reporting live from Texas Stadium where I have just interviewed Chipper Jones after his smashing three-in-one home run game.
2. It was an exciting night for the Stratford Spartans as they faced off with their twenty year high school rival, the Irving Tigers.
3. This is Molly Microphone, welcoming you into the girls’ locker room of the District Swim Meet where the excitement is mounting as it gets closer to starting gun time.
Assignment(s) including Answer key:
Elementary: 1 paragraph
Middle School/Junior High: 2 paragraphs
High School – at least 3 paragraphs
Get into it! Act the part – you, the freelancing roving reporter. Remember to always write a rough draft, then read it aloud to see where you might make corrections or improvements. Final draft should flow. Be sure that the piece is easy to read. After all, the reporter (you!) will later read the presentation under the bright lights of the studio in front of
television cameras. You don’t want to stumble over awkward phrases or sentences. Make it catchy and to the point.
Example Exam Questions: