Exercise: Editing for the web 03

This editing exercise involves reformulating a story written for print to one for the web. Below on the left is the narrative version of the story. On the right is the form that a web site for which you work uses to introduce the story. We can assume that the full narrative will be somewhere on the site, possibly below it, but as the editor, you need to fill in the parts indicated that will go above it. Do not rewrite the story. Use the information in the story to fill in as much information as you can. You will have to go online to find the links to include.

See an example of a completed exercise

Resources

Writing headlines for the web

Writing summaries

Finding links

Editor

(your name; put your name in the form at the end of the exercise, too.)

Headline

Maximum 60 charactersSummary

Maximum 50 words

Major points

At least four bullet points; one complete sentence for each.

Best direct quote

Use this form: Source, attribution.

Best links to other information

(at least three; use the form below)
Web site name, URL, description

Editor

(your name


One campus struggles with drinking problems

WASHBURN, Michigan — Drinking alcohol is as much a part of   college life as going to the big game or studying all night for exams. But one university town in Michigan, struggling with the recent memories of a student death and campus riot, has taken some unusual steps to challenge the risky rite of passage.

Known as a party school with a tradition rich in distilled spirits, Michigan Southern State University has established a vigorous anti-alcohol campaign, driven in large part by the students. Greek social clubs, often considered bulwarks of campus boozing, have led the way.

At the Lambda Chi House, members of fraternities and sororities recently discussed their support for a voluntary 30-day ban on alcohol at chapter houses. They spoke of the need to “refocus our values” and “understand there’s a problem.”

The “problem” was dramatized last autumn when student Bradley McCue died from alcohol poisoning after a binge at an Washburn bar. Then in May, a student riot broke out, fueled in part by alcohol. Following the incidents, some Greek organizations have sobered up. Phi Delta Theta was hit with an alcohol ban for disciplinary reasons, but the fraternity decided to make the prohibition indefinite.

“Our overall living conditions improved. It was a quieter place to live. Our overall academic (grade point average) went up,” member Bob Graham said.

The temperance movement is widespread. The entire Greek system is considering a permanent ban on alcohol. And some students find refuge in Rather Hall, an alcohol-free dormitory.

“We find alternative things to do like going to the circus,” said Shelly Jamison.

Kourtney Rable doesn’t need to be convinced. The student almost died after draining a   fifth of vodka. “The next thing I remember I was in the hospital, and I had no clue how I got there.”

The town of Washburn has joined the university to reduce the flow of beer, wine and liquor.

Community and business leaders joined students, faculty and administrators to create a team called ACTION. The 33-member group quickly realized it couldn’t wipe out alcohol use completely, so it decided on a narrower target: binge drinkers.

“The 10 percent of the students we have found are drinking about 70 percent of the alcohol,” said ACTION executive director Jinny Haas. One longtime bar owner said binge drinking among the college crowd is the worst he’s seen in his 25 years in business.

“I don’t remember it ever being quite like this,” said Vaughn Schneider. “I think we need to really change the mindset of young people.”

The ACTION group has produced 33 recommendations to increase student awareness. They include supporting students who choose not to drink, providing harm reduction programs for students who drink heavily, and establishing Safe Ride, a bus system to prevent drunk students from driving. Bar and restaurant owners also curbed happy hours and other promotions providing cheap booze.

“We think having a liquor license carries with it a responsibility of public trust,” Schneider said.

Telling others what happened to her, Rable now has a warning for a particular group of students: “The ones that don’t know when to stop. The ones that think passing out is fun.”

She tells them it’s not. They may not wake up.

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About Jim Stovall

Jim Stovall, a retired journalism prof, is now a novelist, self publisher, watercolorist, gardener, woodworker and beekeeper -- among others things.

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