How to prepare a report or write an article you've been assigned to do.

Essay by Keir October 2005

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The first thing you should do when you've been assigned to prepare a report or write an article is research the topic in much the same way as you've researched topics for essays or reports.

On my first day as a reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press I was assigned to interview the Winnipeg singer Ed Evanko. I had never heard of him so I checked the newspaper's archives for articles. I took such copious notes that I had the first eight paragraphs completed before I met him that afternoon. If Ed Evanko so much as coughed I'd have my story.

However, the research served another purpose. I now knew what sort of questions I should ask him.

You might wonder how on earth can anyone write a news story by devoting the first eight paragraphs to archived material? I decided it wasn't going to be a news article, it was going to be a personality piece; after all I had reading a dozen personality pieces about him in the Free Press.

The article was prominently displayed the next day on the first page of the local news section, complete with a photo of Mr. Evanko. Although the writing was flat, wooden, nd completely lacking in rhythmn and tempo it proved serviceable. The article began as follows:

Fifteen years ago an 11-year-old boy made his stage debut in the part of a one-armed wooden soldier at Faraday School in West Kildonan.

Edward Evanko, tenor and actor, recently returned to Winnipeg to play a leading role in The Fantasticks.

Since that first appearance, Mr. Evanko, a Winnipegger, has studied under Stefan Pollman, a friend of the late Johannes Brahms, worked under the direction of the British composer, Benjamin Britten, and played before the Queen Mother.

His prospects...