Online and Teaser Writing

For our third tutorial exercise, our class was given a lengthy scenario based on a football awards night. It was presented in the style of author, Sir Terry Pratchett’s fantasy novels, with its use of jargon and characters. Due its odd language and context, it was difficult to not only understand the story and its underlying ethical implications, but to also find a good news angle. As a journalist, we could play it safe by writing just a summary of the night, or we could carefully consider some of the juicer information (like the Best and Fairest winner drunkenly falling over and spilling drinks etc.) and aim to write about that. This time, instead of just writing a short article, our class was asked to write an online news article as well as a teaser for the front page of a paper.


Two Paragraph Story for Online Edition:

 Unseen University Academicals caused a ruckus at The Mended Drum, spilling drinks and smashing glasses, during their annual football club awards.

Best and Fairest winner of the team, Trev Likely, along with his team members, angered The Mended Drum’s manager, Bob Serkock, calling Mr Likely “a total loser”.


200 Word Teaser for Front Page:

Unseen University Academicals caused a ruckus at The Mended Drum, spilling drinks and smashing glasses, during their annual football club awards.

Best and Fairest winner of the team, Trev Likely, fell onto Lord Havelock Vetenari’s wife, Jessica, spilling drinks and smashing glasses.

Manager of The Mended Drum, Bob Serkock, was appalled at the behaviour of the young footballer and the damage to his pub, suggesting Mr Likely is a “a total loser”.

“He thinks he can do whatever he wants because he’s a great football star, but he’s not!” said Mr Serkock.

Earlier, controversially, Club President, Mustrum Ridicully, implied opposition team, Morpork United’s, won due to speculated use of “ingesting some sort of function-augmentation chemical”.

It was not until after, Trev Likely, son of famous footballer, Sam Likely, was named Best and Fairest player, that the night went astray.

Brazeneck University and Ankh Morpork United Club President, Henry Dean, took the opportunity to defend his team following Mr Ridicully’s cheating accusation and said, “no awards night we hold would keep serving alcohol to a legless person”.

No word yet as to whether Unseen University Academicals will suspend Mr Likely after his party antics led to the damage of The Mended Drum.

(Pictures include ones you have taken of the presentation of awards and speeches as well as the havoc caused by the football members at the Mended Drum)


Ethical Considerations:

Despite this scenario being filled with lots of witty language, many ethical and legal implications need to be considered. The main points are analysed below:

The most obvious ethical/legal consideration would be the photo that Ponder Stibbons offered in exchange for $100 and a Jagermeister. Now although Mr Stibbons took a very juicy and convincing photograph, it is quite misleading as it looks as if Mr Likely and Lord Havelock Vetenari’s wife are engaging in some kind of intimate or sexual act, as the photograph describes them in a “tangle on the floor”. When really, Mr Likely is rather intoxicated and “accidentally” grabs hold of Vetenari’s wife. This could be seen as defamatory, as it is not a realistic representation of the situation and does not allow Mr Likely a right of reply. There is also the concern of chequebook journalism in obtaining the photo. As a journalist, I would need to be fair in revealing in the article, that I had paid for the photo which can undermine my journalistic position. However, before even considering purchasing the photograph, there must be careful consideration towards the source’s (Ponder Stibbons) motives in providing it. What does he have to gain in giving me this photo? Well, a lot in fact. As Unseen University Academicals most likely winner of the ‘Best and Fairest’ Award, by damaging Mr Likely’s reputation, could boost his standing and allow the club to reconsider their choice of winner. Therefore, I decided to stay away from the purchase of this photograph, as it can go down too many unethical avenues. Plus, who’s to say I don’t have a camera/mobile phone with me at this event anyway?!

I also considered the suggestion that the opposition team, Morpork United’s cheating by use of steroids to enhance their play and ultimately win the coveted game. Although this comment is speculative and possibly satirical, as a journalist, I believed it would be okay to mention this from the speech with careful wording and attributing the accusation to the source (Mustrum Ridicully). It’s an interesting comment, which adds colour to the article and doesn’t enforce my opinion, instead, it quotes a person and allows the issue to come into the public sphere as something to think about. Who knows, maybe this could lead to drug testing of the footballers and and I just broke the story?!

Another thing I thought about was how the pub manager of The Mended Drum accused Mr Likely’s father, Sam Likely, as a drunk and that Mr Likely is likely to end up like him. Although, the dead cannot sue for defamation, I personally believed this to be an unfair accusation, as it places unnecessary emphasis on personal characteristics of Mr Likely’s family members. Instead, I decided to avoid the idea of Mr Likely’s father’s drunkenness and instead focus on Mr Likely’s own actions that night and quote what the pub manager thought of him specifically.

I also decided to add Brazeneck University and Ankh Morpork United Club President, Henry Dean’s, presence in the article, as it gave another point of view and allowed him, as a representative for Morpork United, a right of reply regarding his team’s accused cheating. This made the article less biased and one-sided towards Unseen University Academicals’ argument. Although Mr Dean was possibly defamatory towards the pub in suggesting they were unethical in their continuous service to overly intoxicated people, it must be taken into account that businesses cannot sue.




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