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Finding Neopia's News

by garbot


From one rookie to another, it's rough being a Neopian reporter. I once contented myself with the tired excuse that there was just no news to report - but I soon realized that wasn't the case at all!

A story can be found almost anywhere, from the bustling bazaar at Neopia Central, to the average old Wheel of Mediocrity in Tyrannia, though that bored Flotsam would never let you know it.

The Who

Chances are that you've been writing the cookie-cutter news article that tells the reader exactly what they're expecting to hear: where some mildly interesting event happened, why it happened, how, and when. News in Neopia no longer travels at a slorg's pace so it's likely your reader already knows exactly what you're going to tell them.

Here's where the Who comes in. Readers might already know about the recent scandal involving the scallywags that run the Bilge Dice scene on Krawk Island; however, if they come to understand (from your article of course) that Deadeye is an avid gardener with a soft spot for flower-picking gnome statues -- of which he has many -- the story suddenly changes.

The Who tells us how "they" came to be there and just what kind of person "they" really are, whomever "they" might be. Without the who, the story becomes one-sided: your lone account of the news and no one else's. The reader wants to feel like they were there, and that's hard to do when your story limits them to only what you saw and heard and not what the pets, petpets, and petpetpets who were also there experienced.

Finding The Who

Interviewing someone I don't know still terrifies me, but that's what we rookie reporters have to do to find the Who. Just make sure you're plenty prepared. Go to the Neopian School Supplies store and get yourself a nifty pencil and notepad to write down whatever your interviewee says.

Even if you're outgoing, going up to any stranger isn't a great idea. For instance, if you're reporting on the sudden drought affecting Neopia's fruit and veggie supply, asking a Maraquan resident about it will likely be a waste of time.

It's safe to assume those wet pets don't know a thing about lack of water. Instead, try speaking to the shopkeeper at Neopian Health Foods. The pet would not only be a credible source -- that is, someone who knows what he's talking about -- but the shopkeeper would probably know where the water's going. But just finding the Who isn't enough. Just because you've mentioned your interviewee in the story doesn't mean you're finished yet. Just because they've told you what, when, where, how, and why doesn't mean they told you who they are.

Giving Them Pie

It works. You need your interviewee to get comfortable or they won't talk! I'm not saying to trick them into revealing a secret involving in your news article with delicious food, but if anything were to slip up, borovan and asparagus pie were likely involved.

Finding out someone's guilty pleasure is that much easier if you've got a bit of his favorite sweets as backup.

...What If They Don't Like Pie?

If you've come across a pet that doesn't like pie, finding out what you need to know might get tricky. I know we rookie reporters tend to have a bit of an ego, but putting your nice face on will help tremendously. If you know a tight-lipped pet has an insatiable love for Meepits, it's probably not the best idea to spout your impassioned reasoning for why those mischievous petpets are a danger to society.

The whole point is to make your interviewee comfortable at any cost in hopes that they might give you information on how they see the world so it can influence your article.

Telling the Right Jokes

Make it a point to start out with the easier questions, or the questions that are easiest to answer. They ease your interviewee into the harder points of the article which are likely going to be the most interesting.

Jokes help... unless you're interviewing King Skarl. It's a fact he's heard a million or more jokes to date and your one-liner will probably insult or even enrage him.

At times like these, remember you're a reporter and not a comedian. Smooth your bad joke over with a bit of simple conversation before you get into your next question. Let the pet you're interviewing lead, but keep writing. He or she could be saying something you will need later.

Jokes or not, interviewing is a rough but crucial aspect of news telling. On the notepad, you should have all your questions mapped out so you're prepared. For example, interviewing someone as busy as Jhudora without an inkling of what you're going to ask will only lead to a short interview and an aggravated dark faerie. Spend time preparing and you'll get more time to get to the meat of the story, or possibly extensive detail on the makings of Noxious Nectar.

Wow, I Didn't Know That

Learning more than just the obvious about the pet you're interviewing can really take you and your article for a spin. But you're not there yet. You have to integrate everything you learned into a concrete news story. The information you have is likely jumbled and most of it might not be relevant if your interviewee went into a tangent about their favorite flavor of chia pop when you're supposed to be reporting on the mysterious powers of the Shop Wizard.

What this information gives you is a unique spin on your news story. The headline no longer has to read something trite like "Pets Contend For High Scores at New Chef Academy", but rather "Former Battledome Flotsam Lays Down Swords For Skewers". Neopians would read the first story because it does exactly what it's supposed to do. The first story tells the reader what happened, when, where, and why.

However, the second story is one few have heard. Most of it is truly news to them. It's filled with facts they didn't know. It informs the reader of everything the first story did and gives it a twist to make it interesting.

It's rough being a Neopian reporter, but remembering that news can be found anywhere in Neopia, finding the Who of your story, and having a little pie on hand makes it all a little easier.

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