Hard News Writing Assignment

In 350 – 375 words, write a hard news story from the report below. Your story should include a headline. Assignment should be typed, double-spaced and in a 12pt. font. Please use your textbook or Associated Press online to guide you through completion.


It’s 10:30 p.m. You’re on the graveyard shift again at the Centerville Gazette and hear some chatter on the police scanner about a car crash out on Highway 32, a road that runs through a rural area of town.

It sounds like a big crash so you head to the scene.

When you arrive you see that the crash is at the intersection of 32 and County Line Road. Two cars, a large, relatively new-looking Ford SUV and a small Mini Cooper, have collided in the middle of the intersection. It appears that the SUV broadsided the Mini Cooper, which has been badly damaged on the driver’s side. The SUV has some front-end damage. Several squad cars, an ambulance and fire trucks have surrounded the scene. The weather is clear and the road is dry.

Centerville Police Officer Pete Wodotinski is on the scene and tells you the following: The crash occurred about 10:15 p.m.

The SUV, heading east on 32, apparently ran the red light and broadsided the Mini Cooper, which was heading south on County Line Road. The Mini Cooper had only one occupant, the driver. He was pronounced DOA. The SUV had three passengers. All were injured and have been taken to Centerville Hospital for treatment. No IDs are available yet, Wodotinski tells you.

It’s getting late so you head back to the newsroom. Once there you phone Sgt. Jack O’Neill, the night-duty desk sergeant at the Centerville PD, to get any additional information. O’Neill says the DOA in the Mini Cooper has been identified as Garrett Johnson, 28, of Centerville, a former U.S. Marine who just returned from his final tour of duty in Afghanistan last year. Johnson has a wife and a 2-year-old daughter, O’Neill says.

O’Neill also says the three people in the SUV were all male students at the elite Waugh Prep School in Centerville. All three were 17 and received minor injuries. O’Neill only has an ID for the driver – Bradley Pierce, of Centerville.

As you’re about to hang up, O’Neill adds, “Turns out Pierce is the son of Porter Pierce, president and owner of Pierce Manufacturing,” a local company that makes electronic parts for computers. “And, oh yeah, we found beer cans in the SUV,” he adds.

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