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How should I start a newspaper article-style assignment about the trial in "Inherit the...

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adeoin | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 5, 2010 at 1:53 PM via web

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How should I start a newspaper article-style assignment about the trial in "Inherit the Wind?"

I have a large assignment where I have to write an article covering the trial in Inherit The Wind. One of the problems is that its an article not a proper essay so that throws me off on the format. Anyways I'm not sure how to start it off, and the format I planned on doing is 3 paragraphs. So how can i set up the thesis and and how can i start this.

I'm writing this as a reporter for a newspaper, so  don't think the aim is formal essay

Here are the minimal requirements:

-Discuss why the trial took place

-Discuss the main participants of the trial and their role

-Discuss some of the strategies used in the trial and its outcomes

-Discuss what the trial is about, really about

-Discuss some of the strategies used in the trial and its outcomes

-Discuss what the outcome of the trial means to the rest of the community

This is all I have right now,

Two political beast debate in the court room and as the days pass the trial gets more intense.

(Advice on writing the article would be appreciated as well)

Thank You In Advance

3 Answers | Add Yours

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 5, 2010 at 9:31 PM (Answer #1)

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The previous posts were quite strong.  I would merely like to underscore that you have choices in opening a newspaper about the trial.  Some openings could be describing the weather at the outset of the trial.  Something to the effect of, "While the temperature is at its maximum outside of the courtroom, it is nothing comparing to the intensity within it."  Another opening could be to outline what is at stake in the trial, such as, "The trial that begins at the court house today could be one of the most important of our time putting science against religion."  I would say that one other way of beginning the article could be highly fact based regarding the defendant and with what he is charged, or discuss the national implications of the trial.  These are strong ways of opening an article that has so much detail and ideas to offer.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 5, 2010 at 2:04 PM (Answer #2)

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If you are supposed to be writing this as a newspaper reporter, the format really needs to be quite different from an essay.

First of all, you need to have a "lead" a first couple of short paragraphs that will get the reader's attention but will also tell them the main facts that they need to know about the trial.  From there, you put the most important stuff first and go down to less important stuff.  (Click on the link for more about this.)

So I would lead it off with something like

In the last two weeks (or however long it was) the trial of John Scopes has exposed the splits between the new America and its old traditions.  The performances of Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan have shown that there are cracks forming on the issue of religion and values in our society.

Or maybe

John Scopes, a high school biology teacher from Dayton, TN, has been convicted of teaching evolution to his students.  The legal genius of his lawyer, Clarence Darrow, could not prevent his conviction at the hands of the prosecutor, William Jennings Bryan.

From there I would go on with the other stuff, in that most-important-first order I talked about.

Good luck!

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 5, 2010 at 8:59 PM (Answer #3)

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Perhaps you are unaware that this trial really did take place, not precisely as in the movie, but nevertheless, as a prosecution of poor Scopes, who  volunteered to be a test case. Many of the lines of the movie were taken from the trial transcript, and if you do a bit of research, you can probably find real newspaper reports of the trial. I have included a link to the transcript. There is a book called Treasury of Great Reporting that your school or local library might have. Certainly, there should be information on-line.  Information on Clarence Darrow and on William Jennings Bryan is certainly available. 

Is it all right to go outside the movie to prepare to do your writing?  This is something you will have to speak to your teacher about.  It never hurts to learn something extra, though. 

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