I've just been reading through the briefs you wrote in class based on the scrambled notes I gave you.
For first attempts you did very well.
Here are some trends I noticed:
USE THE PAST TENSE
REMEMBER THAT AGES TAKE NUMBERS unless you are starting a sentence with an age.
The 5-year-old Putnam County girl. OR Five-year-old Haleigh Cummings.
Percentages also take numbers.
Put the news in the lead -- Stump, a 10-year-old Sussex spaniel, became the oldest dog Wednesday to win the coveted Westminster Kennel Club best in show award.
NEVER start a lead or sentence with the day of the week....Weave time element into the sentence.
LEADS AND HEADLINES ARE DIFFERENT CREATURES. Leads are COMPLETE sentences.
If the person you are writing about is not well-known and his or her name wouldn't mean anything to most people, use broad facts for the lead and introduce name in second graph.
Example: An 18-year-old Brevard County man faces child pornography charges after police said he allegedly used his cell phone to send a photo of a former girlfriend's bare breast to a friend.
When a person is UNDER 15 years old, use their first name on second reference unless they are accused of a serious crime, then use their last name. Anyone 18 and older is referred to by their surname on second reference.
Generally use last names only on second reference. When it is necessary to distinguish between two people who have the same last name, use the first and last name even on second reference.
When referring to an person's age in numbers only - e.g. Jennifer Brown, 18, --- remember to enclose the numbers in commas.
Be careful of time elements -- your story will appear in the newspaper the next day, sometimes more than 24 hours after events occurred. So don't use terms like she is "currently being questioned" because it is doubtful that would be the case when a person was reading the paper.
Check your facts: i.e. Stump was NOT the 10th oldest dog to win the best of show award. He was THE oldest dog.
We'll be doing regular briefs writing exercises to build your speed and knowledge of how to construct simple, informative sentences.