ALE

XANDER 

ZHIKUN HE

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News Writing

Here are some of my articles. All of these were written for my Environmental Reporting class at Fairfield.

Click on the headlines of each article to load/close them (works best with JavaScript).

Feature-length Articles

For another feature-length article, see 'FIS Alumni Magazine: Opening Day.'

Shorter Articles

  • Dance of Fur and Fang
    It is an age-old dance as a ground squirrel attempts to evade the rattlesnake's repeated strikes.
    538 words - 26 March 2008[close article]
  • How a Reporter Digs
    Nothing stays buried for long when reporter Marian Gail Brown digs into a story.
    541 words - 25 March 2008[close article]
  • On Display: Connecticut's Trashy Problem
    What if you were given a 2000-pound dinosaur for your birthday? What if you received another one on your next birthday? And the next?
    447 words - 26 March 2008[close article]
  • Recycling Depends on Convenience and Hot Dates
    Although the environment was a top issue among Fairfield students who participated, the typical respondent had adopted just three out of eight of the ''green'' habits...
    643 words - 03 May 2008[close article]
  • Teaching Young Reporters Old Tricks

    A double-breasted suit. A full beard - a graying one at that. One needs but a glance to see that he has a taste for the old-fashioned.

    Despite being a few decades behind in style, Jim Motavalli, editor of E: The Environmental Magazine, is a leader in the field of environmental news.

    Motavalli came to Fairfield's Environmental Reporting Class Thursday with advice on interviewing and encouraged student reporters to take a step back from the high-tech.

    "Treat it as a conversation," said Motavalli.

    He advised students against the now common practice of interviewing with prepared questions.

    Calling himself an "improvisational interviewer," he encouraged students to base questions on responses, allowing interviews to go off on unexpected tangents.

    He believes that prepared questions prevent reporters from getting into the heart of a story since they do not allow for unanticipated responses.

    In the spirit of continuing the flow of learning more information, Motavalli tries to end his interviews with the question: "Who else should I talk to?"

    However, his message may be lost in today's tech-heavy society.

    With a tone of regret, he said that too many of today's young writers have replaced the interview with a quick search on Google and referred to the interview as a "lost art."

    The tape recorder, another commonly used tool in journalism today, is one technology Motavalli prefers to do without.

    Motavalli said that by giving up the tape recorder, it forced him to "notice things" during the interview.

    Most of what is said is unusable anyway, said Motavalli, who would rather not spend time playing a recording over and over in order to transcribe a quote. He prefers instead to take his trusty paper notebook for jotting down interesting information.

    287 words - 26 March 2008[close article]

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