ADVANCE STORIES, FOLLOW-UPS
At one time or another in your career as a Navy
journalist, you can expect to find yourself writing an
advance story, writing a follow-up and rewriting a
release received from an outside source.
Producing advance stories, follow-ups and rewrites
first requires that you know how to write and, second,
that you have a sharp eye for accuracy. You also must
have a sound knowledge and background of the subject
about which you are writing.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Interpret the rules
and structure of the advance story.
An advance story calls the publics attention to a
coming news event which would possibly be missed if
it were covered as a spot news story. It answers the
What is going to happen?
When is it going to happen?
Advance stories are used to promote practically
every scheduled, major, special event. They provide the
advance buildup and support required to attract
attention, encourage participation and assure success.
Few special events could succeed without the benefit of
advance announcements by local media.
Figure 5-2 shows examples of leads to advance
stories following the initial announcement.
Suppose your command was open for public
visitation. The event probably would be a complete
failure if the public did not know in advance when and
where it would occur, what activities were planned, who
could attend and why the public visitation was being
Three important rules for you to remember when
writing and releasing advance stories are as follows:
Do not shoot the whole works in the first story.
In a publicity buildup, plan the release of major
facts so they may provide good news pegs for
later advance stories.
Do not ruin a good thing. Advance stories must
contain legitimate news, not mere publicity
puffs. Provide facts that readers will find
worthwhile and interesting.
Do not overexploit an event. Schedule your
advance stories over a reasonable period of time,
give enough new information in each release to
keep your audience interested, but do not bore
them with unnecessary repetition. The scope and
importance of the event will help determine the
time frame required to promote it adequately.
Usually, three to four weeks will be more than
Figure 5-1 shows a typical example of an advance
release that might be used to announce an Armed Forces
Day public visitation. The first release should contain
the bare information essentials. Subsequent releases
should elaborate on the basic facts presented in the
initial announcement. The actual number of advance
stories is determinedly what you have to tell. Each story
should build up to the next one, with the most important
news pegs timed for release during the week of the
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Interpret the
purpose, reader considerations and structure
of the follow-up story.
Like advance stories, follow-ups are part of an
overall story. In many news situations, there will be
important or significant developments in a story already
released. These news developments must then be
released to update the original story. This method of
reporting is refereed to as follow-ups, which, as the