Hard News Story

In my Broadcast Journalism Writing class, we learned about soft news versus hard news. We learned to write several news stories/ news releases on both hard and soft news. Below is a hard news story about a fire at Jayhawk Village Apartments, a local apartment complex in Lawrence, Kansas where the majority of residents are KU students.

Fire at Jayhawk Village Apartments

By Annabelle Bragalone 

April 23, 2021

LAWRENCE, KS – Firefighters responded to a fire this morning at the Jayhawk Village Apartments.  

The fire was brought under control at 7:05 am after the firefighters arrived.  The apartment belonged to KU students; James Joseph Moretti, Steven Boyd Lawson, and Linda Lee Fuson, who was not there when the fire occurred. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

Steven Lawson was trapped in his bedroom and he died in the fire.  Moretti suffered from burns over a third of his body and is in critical condition at Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s burn unit with second and third degree burns on his hands, arms, face neck, back, buttocks, and thighs.  Three pet birds also died due to the fire. 

The fire burned through the floor, blistering the gypsum walls and melted the residents’ television.  It also caused smoke damage to the apartment of Patricia Graham and Lisa Hampton.  The damages caused by the fire cost an estimated $250,000 to the apartment building and the student’s belongings in the apartment that burned were valued at $80,000.  

“I tried to grab hold of [James’] arm but couldn’t because he was so badly burned.  I put him over my shoulder and carried him outside. He told me that Steven was still upstairs.  I went back to the top of the stairs, but the flames reached the front door,” said Darren Nitz, who is credited with saving James Moretti’s life. 

According to Neil Heesacker, a spokesman for the Lawrence fire department, a fire outbreak in an enclosed area can make temperatures reach 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit near the ceiling and 1,000 degree by the floor.  

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