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Smart reporters know to get the 'boilerplate' written early
Photos and Story by Dana Haynes
Three days to go.
Ah, a man after my own heart!
Oregonian reporter David Holley was on the phone to me Thursday and Friday, doing what’s called “boilerplate” for the story he’ll be writing after the results of Tuesday’s election are known.
Many inexperienced reporters try to write their whole election story on election night. The smarter ones know that paragraphs three-through-nine can be written days in advance and saved. Then, when you get good numbers from the elections divisions (figure 8:10 p.m. or so), you can make a couple of phone calls, write paragraphs 1 and 2, and have a fully cooked story ready to go to your line editor, way ahead of all your other writing colleagues.
Then you can go attack the pizza that will be served Tuesday night in every newsroom in America. Pizza on election night is sacred. Do not mess with the pizza.
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