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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 and @newsu.
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5 motivators to engage your viewers

The lead of your story has to speak to what motivates viewers to sit and watch. Here are five motivators for engaging viewers with a news story on TV or the web: Money Family Safety Health Community You can address the “safety” motivator in crime stories, in stories about unsafe cars or in stories about texting or talking on the … Read More
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6 questions to guide the way you engage with your audience

Audience engagement is more than just a buzzword — it's an essential part of journalism. By focusing on three topic areas — transparency, listening and outreach — you can build trust and engagement with audiences in today’s political landscape. Here's a checklist to help you get started with meaningful audience engagement from Jennifer Brandel, founder and CEO of Hearken: … Read More
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8 techniques for finding and fixing errors in your writing

Mistakes are not necessarily an indicator of skill — or lack thereof. Certainly, a journalist who consistently makes factual errors is in need of training and guidance. But any of us can make a mistake at any time. Here's a list of useful tips and tricks for identifying and preventing mistakes in your work. Start every interview by asking the … Read More
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7 questions to guide your voice as a writer

Memorable writing has a strong voice. But how do you develop the genuine tone that distinguishes your writing? Consider these components: What is the level of language? Is it concrete or abstract or somewhere in between? Do you use street slang or the logical argument of a professor of philosophy? What "person" do you work in? Should you use "I" … Read More
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7 ingredients for effective reviews

Powerful reviews do more than offer a list of observations about a movie, TV show or play. Reviews, like all forms of opinion writing, work best when they tell a story and connect with their audience. Eric Deggans, the TV critic for NPR, shares these strategies. Be a griot. Just like the African poets and storytellers who told the history … Read More
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2 ways to put numbers in context

In honor of Pi Day on March 14 (Pi is approximately 3.14159 — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter), today's Coffee Break Course celebrates math. When reporting on numbers, give them some context so you can present a broader picture to your readers. For example: Cost of Living. Adjust for inflation so that the … Read More
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4 ways to dig deeper in stories of faith and religion

Stories about religion are not just about a church, temple or mosque. Here are some guiding questions to help you tell stories with context and credibility. Motivation. Religious belief or morality is often used to justify assertions or behaviors--and it can also be used as a screen to disguise other motivations. Are there other factors or concerns at stake in … Read More
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5 tips for writing blog posts

Even the best writers struggle from time to time in crafting their work. This can be especially tricky for bloggers, who want to produce a steady flow of content for their audience. Not to worry. Every writer faces this dilemma. Here are some strategies to kick-start your work. Try the Hemingway Trick for Early Productivity Ernest Hemingway concluded his writing … Read More
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How to replace 'planning' with 'doing' in your work culture

Brainstorming new ideas is easy. Changing the culture to launch successful new projects is difficult. Here are some way to bring a startup culture into your organization. Divide and conquer: Pick two or three small teams and give them decision-making authority. Allow them to launch anything the whole team agrees is worth trying. One caution: Certain types of people prefer … Read More
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8 steps for building your writing process

Writing is a process – a set of predictable, repeatable steps in the journey to the finished work. While there are probably as many processes are there are writers, here are some of the identifiable steps. Explore: All good writers express a form of curiosity, a sense that something is going on out there. See your world as a storehouse … Read More
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4 places to find story ideas for investigative reporting

Investigative reporters turn routine observations, reports, tips and conversations into questions about the way the world works. Curiosity is your starting point for great stories. Here are some places to begin: Observation. Be curious about the people and places you see every day. Your questions may be the seed of an idea for an investigative story. Tips. Tips can come … Read More
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4 guidelines for writing SEO-friendly headlines

Headlines are lifelines to our readers. They grab attention, build trust and help time-pressed consumers focus on the stories they care most about. They link readers with our content, giving us a chance to reach our audience across a sea of information. Headlines also help search engines decide whether our offerings match what users are looking for. Most search queries … Read More
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6 ways to spread facts

The simple but frustrating truth is that facts alone are not enough to convince people. Even the most thorough, accurate piece of reporting might still be trumped by a poorly reasoned and false counterargument. Therefore, it's crucial to understand how to publish persuasive factual journalism. Here are some tips for spreading facts: Don't Hesitate: Act quickly to dispel and debunk … Read More
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A checklist for the tasks and territory of your beat

With the passing of our colleague and friend Steve Buttry, we wanted to highlight some of the teaching he brought to Poynter. Today's Coffee Break Course is courtesy of Introduction to Reporting: Beat Basics, an online course that Steve developed for News University. Like a job description, a beat description outlines the tasks and territory of your beat … Read More
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6 alternative story forms that can stand alone

Standalone alternative story forms (ASF) do just what their name implies: They stand alone as independent stories, with no traditional story to accompany them. Like a standalone photo or graphic, the standalone ASF needs to be a complete story. It might be all the reader will see about the topic, particularly in print media. Typically, a standalone ASF begins with … Read More
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