Posts by Vicki Krueger

About Vicki Krueger

Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current position as marketing communications manager. She is the author of Cleaning Your Copy: Grammar, Style and More – a self-directed e-learning course that consistently is ranked as one of the most popular courses at Poynter News University. Other work includes producing "Best Newspaper Writing," the annual collection of the ASNE Distinguished Writing Award winners and finalists, and editing "Aim for the Heart," a book by Poynter's Al Tompkins for TV reporters and producers. You can follow her on Twitter at vkrueger.
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Three ways to identify and build your audience

When you are starting a blog, or any online site, your relationship with and understanding of your audience will be the most important aspects of your success. Who are they? Communities break down in different ways for different topics. Here are some examples. Industry community: People whose livelihoods are directly related to the subject Academic community: A crowd of wonks … Read More
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Where to find story ideas in annual reports

If you are planning on writing about business, you will need financial information about the companies you are covering. Public companies file a 10-K, an annual overview of a company's business and financial condition. It contains extensive background and financial information, including audited financial statements. It is also one of the most difficult documents to read. (Don't confuse the 10-K … Read More
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10 ways to generate story ideas

The best writers see a world full of story ideas. They typically have more ideas than they can put into practice. That’s a good problem to have. Here are some ways you can generate your own story ideas rather than rely on the ideas of editors, producers or teachers. Break your routine. Drive to work or school a different way. Read More
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9 questions for creating a copyright agreement

If someone is working for you and creating content, you need to reach an agreement concerning who will hold the copyright on that content. Answering these questions before coming to an agreement with a content creator can help you create a clear, substantive agreement: What work will the content creator create? Who owns the rights to the work? What rights … Read More
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How to think photographically with your audio story

When you’re reporting an audio story, collect all the sound elements you will need to reconstruct a scene for a listener. That means collecting the sound of doors opening and closing, the sound of thunder in the background, the sound of your subject answering the phone or greeting a friend. You want sound that paints a picture or sets a … Read More
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9 ways to improve transparency when fact-checking

Transparency is important for fact-checkers and for all journalists. Let your audience know what you are doing, as well as how and why you're doing it. Here are steps journalists can take to help improve transparency and trust with your audience. Upload documents, transcripts, data and any other materials used to write an article or fact check. If it’s available … Read More
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In an interview, let your questions guide the conversation

Think of an interview as a canoe. The source should do all the hard work--the paddling--of answering the questions. As the interviewer, you should do the steering. Different kinds of questions can guide the conversation in different ways. Ask open-ended questions when possible. These are helpful for people who've never been interviewed before. Closed-ended questions (that can be answered with … Read More
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How to sharpen the focus of your blog

Ready to start blogging? Even if you have a good idea of what you'd like to cover, you should spend some time researching and focusing your topic. Try to get a sense of what you're aiming for and what you're best positioned to cover. And you want to know what the existing landscape of coverage for that topic looks like. Read More
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How to power your writing with active and passive verbs

The "voice" of verbs (active or passive) is different than the "tense" of verbs.  Tense defines action within time, when the verb happens. Voice defines the relationship between subject and verb, who does what. Active, passive and "to be" verbs have different effects for the reader or listener. The best writers choose between active and passive to powerful effect. Here's … Read More
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4 guidelines to avoid fabrication in your news coverage

Fabrication in news publishing can take many forms, from creating sources and embellishing stories to making quotes sound different from what was actually said. Here are some best practices to avoid fabrication from Geanne Belton, Ruth Hochberger and Jane Kirtley, journalists and educators who are the authors of the Poynter course on avoiding plagiarism and fabrication. Be a stickler … Read More
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5 non-verbal ways to be an active listener

Leaders can help themselves and their staffs by practicing the art of active listening. Here are some non-verbal skills to help. Use good eye contact to show you’re engaged and interested in what the other person is saying. Use your posture and hand movements to convey that the most important thing you’re doing is listening to your colleague. Avoid distractions. Read More
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How solutions journalism makes your reporting stronger

Solutions journalism is a "howdunnit" approach that offers rigorous and compelling coverage about responses to social problems — reporting that adheres to the highest of journalistic standards. This approach makes watchdog reporting even stronger. Here are other strengths of solutions journalism. Solutions Journalism Provides Context Journalism that fails to cover responses to social problems provides an inaccurate and biased view … Read More
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Questions to ask non-profit staff when you're covering scientific research

Journalists talk to a variety of sources about scientific research. Different types of sources have different qualifications and can provide different types of information. Here are some considerations and questions when you are interviewing non-profit representatives about a study you are covering. For subject matter expertise, ask: Background and training Educational history Depth of knowledge in the field In the … Read More
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9 guidelines to access public and private property

While the First Amendment protects your right to engage in speech, it does not grant you complete access to the property of others. Here are some guidelines to protect yourself from legal risks. Get consent. If you have any doubts about your right to enter property, get consent to enter first. Don’t assume permission. Make sure your use of the … Read More
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How to plan your audio options before you start your story

Producing an effective audio narrative starts with extensive planning well before picking up a mic. When you’re considering audio treatment for a story, make a list of all possible sound sources at the primary physical location. Public events, for instance, are usually a great opportunity to get sound: There are plenty of voices (and interview opportunities), and there might be … Read More