NEWS WRITING EXERCISES
Take the following information and write a news story. At the end of your story, identify angles for possible follow-ups. List who you would want to talk to and questions that you would want to answer for those stories.
Adriana Salem was a 2001 graduate of Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove, Ill. She joined the Army after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She was killed Friday, March 10, 2006, in Remagen, Iraq, when a vehicle she was in rolled over, according to U.S. Army officials.
Salem was one of five children in her family. Her parents declined to talk about their daughter, designating Sgt. 1st Class Richard Myres to speak for them. Myres said Salem wanted to be a police officer and saw the military as a way to fulfill her dream.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, Myres said of Salem, “she said it was time. . . She was called to serve, and she served.”
No further details were released about the incident in which Salem died. It was not known if others were hurt. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.
Salem was an Army specialist. She had been in Iraq for only 20 days. Salem was in Afghanistan in 2003.
Teachers at her high school remember her as a very dedicated person who pushed herself. Bruce Bazsali, the school’s division head for PE, said she came to regular early morning workouts that started at 6 a.m. She would push herself, working with an Army recruiter to try to get in shape. She had two goals at that time, Bazsali said: to get into the Army and to become a police officer.
“She was pretty driven. Very committed and driven,” Bazsali, said. Bazsali was a regular at the morning workouts and always saw Salem there, pushing herself as hard as she could.
Salem was active in school. She played in the string section of the orchestra. She was a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions. She also participated in a srtenuous course that prepared students to become PE aides. That class was led by Bazsali, who described it as similar in many ways to Army life. It taught students how to solve problems and how to think and act under pressure.
Salem was the second grad from the school killed in Iraq in recent weeks. Marine Cpl. John T. Olson was killed on duty Feb. 21 when a bomb exploded near his vehicle. He was also a 2001 graduate.
Salem was described as a “great kid” by teachers and as someone with a great personality who was fun to talk to.
“She was a fun-loving, sweet, caring kind of girl,” said Jim Arey, an Elk Grove teacher. He had Salem in his public service practicum group, a course that focuses on getting involved with the community. “She was one of those people that is just a kind soul,” he said. He called news of her death “devastating.” He said she was in the Army for all the right reasons.
Arey had invited Army recruiters to school this year to talk about the military as an option after graduation. Recruiters were scheduled to be back at the school next week. Arey said it would be difficult to go through with the visit after the recent deaths. Arey is working with the village of Elk Grove create a “peace pole,” a pole inscribed with a peace message in various languages to honor residents killed in military service.
Arey said Olson’s name and Salem’s name would be inscribed on the pole, along the name of Marine Lance Cpl. Phillip E. Frank. Frank, 20, was from Elk Grove Village but did not attend Elk Grove High. He was killed in October 2005.