Monday, September 13, 2010

Covering City Hall

We're off to meet the Missoula City Council tonight. The show starts at 7 p.m., so get there early and grab a seat on the aisle leading from the door to the speaker's stand. The council chambers are at 140 W. Pine St., next to Sean Kelly's.

Your stories are due by midnight tonight.

By now you should have read the council's agenda and the city's argument for the special tax districts that are up for discussion tonight. Missoulian reporter Keila Szpaller previewed tonight's action in this morning's paper. You'd be smart to give her story a read.

We'll prepare for tonight's work in class. But here's some style information you might find useful.

The Missoula City Council - That's its name, so capitalize it the first time you use it. You can refer it the council (lowercase) after that.

Titles - Formal titles like mayor and councilwoman are capitalized only when they precede a name, as in Mayor John Engen or Councilwoman Pam Walzer or Councilman Bob Jaffe. You can refer to them by their last names on subsequent references. Other unelected officials are often given a formal title, such as City Attorney Jim Nugent and Police Chief Mark Muir but most others are best described by what they do, as in Bruce Bender, the city's chief administrator, or Steve King, who runs the city's public works department.

Wards -Council members represent six wards, but you don't need to offer the ward description with their names unless that's important to know, as it might be in a tussle between areas of the city over, say, street repairs. In that case, I'd say Councilman Bob Jaffe, whose Ward 3 includes the University area, called for ...

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