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Mood -- First File

First File


  The nation’s schisms and the electorate’s deep divisions abundantly clear at Hollywood Hills Alliance Church in suburban Hollywood, where voters from three surrounding  precincts come to cast their ballots. (1)   Pollworkers said Tuesday morning that business was good and that a line had formed before the polls opened at 7 a.m. and pointing to a dozen or so voters waiting in line to use one of about a dozen touch-screen voting machines. (2)   Close to half the voters in the neighborhood are Democrats, about a third are Republican, and the balance either independent or registered in one of Florida’s numerous small parties. The predominantly white neighborhood residents live in houses running from the low to mid three hundred thousands to half a million dollars and more. (3)   Lanny [cq] Linn, a 63-year-old Republican real estate broker who supported Al Gore in the 2004 presidential election, said this time he voted solid GOP. (4)   “I consider myself independent. I just think the Democrats have been slamming the Republicans and Bush since 2000,” he said, standing in the church parking after casting his ballot. “The Democrats are not strong enough on the war, whether we should be there are not. We can’t cut and run.” 

  Despite a rash of newspaper and television reports that the once-booming the local real estate market has slowed dramatically, Linn said he thinks the economy is good and the drop in home sales was mostly due to last year’s busy hurricane season.

  “The market is picking back up,” he said. “It’s a cycle, it was slow, but it’s back up.” (5)

  Barbara Doell, a retired nurse, is Linn’s mirror image. (6)

  A Democrat who’s also crossed party lines – but not recently, she notes – also voted straight down her party’s ticket.

  “It’s about change. It’s about putting up with the last six years, the lies and deceit,” she said. We’ve got to get back on the right track.

  The Iraqi war is Doell’s biggest issue.

  “I don’t think we belong there,” she said, pointing out that “Osama Bin Laden is still running around” and wondering why that’s not been an issue.

  She’s also concerned with Florida’s looming home insurance crisis and private insurers cancel and stop writing new policies.” (7)





(1) I arrived at about 8:30, voted myself, chatted with poll workers and went out to interview. The split between parties became apparent right away and I knew that would be the lede of my first filing. Note that I did leave a verb out of the lede, should have been "were abundantly clear." Were I editing, I'd have changed "come to cast their ballots" to "cast their ballots."


(2) Got this from chatting up poll workers, who were a little reluctant to talk and thus I didn't press for names. Another little garble here -- writing fast and bad proofreading -- should have read "7 a.m., pointing to..." without the "and."


(3) If there's a nut graf, this is hit. Gives context to the location. Here's where database and public records reporting comes in. Admittedly, for what I was doing, this was probably overkill.

  I downloaded registration data in Excel from the Broward Superivisor of Elections site. The demographic breakdown came from the same site, but as PDF. Took only a few minutes to pull out these precincts and total them up to see how they stack up politically. Looked at the demographic data to confirm my own knowledge that the area is Anglo.

  Likewise, I knew housing prices because it's my neighborhood.

(4) Transition into first source. [CQ] is a convention to show that an odd spelling is correct.

(5) Could have made the last graf on real estate clearer. His sense that the economy is good was one of the reasons he voted GOP.

(6) Transition to next source. Note how it introduces next source by contrasting her with the previous.

(7) Second source



General notes:

  I probably interviewed half a dozen people for this story.

  Ran into a little trouble from the 100-foot rule, but worked around it.

   Note how this file follows the structure that we've been talking about in class.

  There's a lede, something to support the lede and a nut graf.

  This is followed by a block structure, each block starting with a transition and ending with a quote. Except for the last graf, which I just tacked on.

  After starting at about 8:30.

  Left the polling place at around 10, arrived at FIU at 10:30.

  Spent a few minutes dealing with school stuff and about 45 minutes finding and looking at the data I used in the nut graf. (Should done a lot of this in advance.)

   Started writing at about noon and filed by 1.






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