Snowstorm Continues To Coat The City Of Upper Hutt

  Snow continues to coat the streets of Upper Hutt in white. Along with many parts of the country, Upper Hutt has been experiencing heavy snowfall since Sunday. Most schools were closed today, with students and teachers urged to stay at home. Rimutaka Hill continues to stay closed until further notice, and drivers are advised to take care on the roads. Metlink bus services were stopped after 7.00pm last night, and today terminated early at around 4.30pm when the snowfall picked up again. Bus drivers advised passengers that it would be too hazardous to make all stops.
  Flickering lights last night were reported around Upper Hutt indicating power outages as a real possibility. People are advised to have emergency kits at the ready, including torches, bottled water, and non-perishable food.
  Metservice says the extreme weather will likely carry on throughout the week, and sunny, dry weather will begin from next Monday. “This is the heaviest and most widespread snowfall in Wellington City for at least 50 years,” Metservice says. “A further 15 to 30cm of snow above 400 metres, and 5 to 15cm from 200 to 400 metres” is expected this evening.
  Not all is doom and gloom however. Many citizens are making the most of this unexpected weather by building snowmen, and of course, taking pictures of the city’s new look. Photos are ending up across various social networks such as Facebook.

Note: This article is practice for entry to the Graduate Diploma in Journalism which I am trying again for later this year. Please leave feedback below!

3 thoughts on “Snowstorm Continues To Coat The City Of Upper Hutt

  1. Hi Michael,

    Firstly, in news writing almost every sentence is a new paragraph. Occasionally it’s two if the subject of the sentences are the same but usually just the one.

    Also, having unnecessary words is frowned upon, especially in your first sentence, which is supposed to be straight-forward and grab the reader. This might sound strange, but sometimes you have to strip out your own creativity. Being descriptive isn’t necessary all the time (people know snow is white). You also might want to specify a time – today, this morning, etc. – in the first sentence rather than the second.

    The rest of your article is actually very newsy though, so it’s definitely not bad! And don’t worry too much because this is stuff you learn at journalism school within the first few weeks, not necessarily stuff you’re already expected to know.

  2. Good work, Mike!

    I’m gonna echo Siobhan’s comments, and also add what I think is one of the most important rules of news writing: keep it active (as opposed to “passive”)!

    “Upper Hutt has experienced” (or even simply “Upper Hutt experienced”) rather than “Upper Hutt has been experiencing”, for instance.

    Sometimes it might require you to word the sentence a little differently than you first intended so that the subject is performing the action rather than on the receiving end, for instance. As an example, I’d suggest changing the sentence that begins “Flickering lights last night were reported…” to something along the lines of “Upper Hutt residents reported flickering lights…”

    But as Siobhan said, this is a great effort 🙂

  3. Hi Michael.
    I thought I’d add my thoughts to what Chris and Siobhan have said – if you don’t mind.
    Generally it’s a pretty good effort but I agree entirely with Chris that if it’s a news story then it wants to be written in the active tense.
    I haven’t written any news stories for a while (apart from one a month or so ago) but being a news story, reporters tend to boil it down to the essentials: “What happened, where it happened, when it happened, and who it happened to”. You can save the creative stuff for the feature story that will follow!
    Your opening paragraph should be punchy and attract the reader and often it pays not to state the obvious too much in a news story (people would know that the ground would be white if it was coated in snow).
    I hope you don’t think I’m being critical. It’s a good effort but just needs some fine tuning to make it more newsworthy.
    Finally, in the 18 years I lived in Upper Hutt I don’t think I ever saw snow.

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