Journalism 133: Prof. Craig: Follow-Up Stories Exercise

Follow-Up Stories Exercise

Follow-up stories are news stories that build upon an original story in subsequent days with new information, new angles and/or new developments related to the subject.  These commonly flow from stories which affect many people, involve actions to be taken at a later date, or which contain few details in their original publication.  Often a single editor and a single reporter will provide continuing coverage of the topic with many follow-ups.   

Your assignment today is to meet in the groups assigned below and come up with follow-up story ideas based on the material provided here.  When coming up with these ideas, think about these questions (and any others you may come up with in the process):

Here is a quick summary of your original story, adapted from existing coverage:

The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority could approve the basic design of the Central Bikeway — a 10-mile "superhighway" of protected bike lanes between San Jose and Santa Clara — as soon as next month. VTA’s bicycle advisory committee voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend the transit agency’s board approve the concept for the project.

VTA initially had about a dozen routes to choose from, and eventually narrowed the choice down to three. More than 1,400 residents gave their input on the best route for the superhighway, 30% of whom don’t currently ride a bicycle or only ride for recreation. Resident feedback was gathered through social media, surveys and VTA pop-ups at events like Viva Calle for almost two years.

VTA planners ultimately landed on a route going from Penitencia Creek County Park past the Berryessa BART Station on Mabury Road, continuing on Taylor Street. The route turns north on Fourth Street and west on Hedding Street, finally turning on The Alameda and continuing north on El Camino Real. The Shortliner ends at Lawrence Expressway, about a mile and a half south of the Lawrence Caltrain station in Santa Clara.

Construction of this bicycle highway system — including the landscaping and materials to raise the path above street level — is estimated to cost $213 million. The project design is about 10% complete. Funding is expected to come from multiple sources, but has yet to be determined.  One member of the bicycle committee was concerned that commuter cyclists would be sharing the path with recreational cyclists, which could deter commuters from using the bikeway.

The idea of a superhighway stems from VTA’s Santa Clara Countywide Bike Plan released in 2018. Santa Clara County already has 800 miles of bikeways, including dedicated bike lanes on roads such as San Fernando Street in downtown San Jose. In addition to bike lanes, there are 200 miles of dedicated bike trails, but many are not connected through a continuous, uninterrupted path.

I will divide you into the groups below (subject to change due to absences), where you will come up with as many feasible follow-up story ideas as you can.  You won't need lots of details about them, but they should all be ideas on which you could base a news story.  We will reconvene in a few minutes and discuss everyone's ideas.

Groups for exercise:

1 2 3 4 5 6
Maya Benmokhtar
Matthew Gonzalez
Sarah Mosteller
Oscar Frias Rivera
Vanessa Tran
Alina Ta
Irene Milanez
Melany Gutierrez
Navin Krishnan
Marie Aquino
Nathan Canilao
Kennedy Mayo


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