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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How to make sense of numbers in science and health reports

All kinds of studies, particularly health studies or pharmaceutical trials, report changes in risk. To make sure your story covers those numbers accurately, ethically and elegantly you need to understand how risk (the chance of something happening) works. If you flip a coin, the “risk” or chance that it will land on heads is 50 percent, or one in two. Read More
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How to prepare for an interview with a source

The effective interviewer knows what he or she wants from an interview. That’s what John Brady, author of “The Craft of Interviewing,” thinks. The interviewer is like a chess player, he says, never moving a piece or asking a question without a greater purpose. Here’s what to ask yourself at the outset of reporting: What do I want to know? … Read More
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9 ways to review and revise your writing

It's easy to equate revision with failure. “If I knew what I were doing, I'd get it right the first time,” many writers think. Revision is the best friend a writer can have. The trick is to use revision as a tool to make your writing clearer, sharper and more powerful. Here are some approaches to revising your work: Write … Read More
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Five ways to get readers talking and posting on social media

For many content creators, social media offer ideal platforms to drive two-way communication — through discussion and debate around news and current events and through encouraging readers to share a wide range of viewpoints by creating and posting their own comments, op-eds, photo and videos. Here are some ways you can motivate readers to get involved in a two-way conversation, … Read More
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7 tips for conducting better interviews with scientists

Sources make — or break — stories. Reliable sources can become journalists' guides into complicated stories and help them build credibility among subject matter experts. Here are some guidelines to conducting interviews with scientists that can help you gather accurate information and cultivate relationships with reliable sources. Preparation is essential: Science interviews shouldn't be cold calls. Take 15 minutes before … Read More
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It's or its? How to use apostrophes with contractions

Apostrophes can be used in a couple of ways. With contractions, use apostrophes to indicate that letters are missing. When two words are written in shortened form, use an apostrophe to show that some letters are missing: I've, it's, don't, rock 'n' roll, 'tis the season to be jolly. He is a ne'er-do-well. Also use an apostrophe to mark missing … Read More
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How to sound natural when reading your audio story

Much as written music is meant to be performed, audio stories are meant to be spoken. On paper, an audio story exists in two dimensions. The voice adds emotion, texture and nuance. What's on the page might feel choppy or staccato. Voicing can provide polish and rhythm. In fact, radio writing isn’t always beautiful when it’s read on the page. Read More
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3 ways to use graphics in your storytelling

As you plan your multimedia story, you have to decide which tools (video, audio, photos, graphics, etc.) would best tell each part of the story. Graphics go where cameras can't--into human cells or millions of miles into space. Sometimes graphics can be a story's primary medium, supported by other media. Here are some general guidelines for graphics: You can make … Read More
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How to report on trends in opinion polling

Poynter has just launched a new course on polls and surveys in partnership with three international opinion research organizations. Thanks to the support of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), the World Association for Social, Opinion and Market Research (ESOMAR) and the World Association for Public Opinion Research (WAPOR), this course is free of … Read More
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How to focus your reporting while working on an investigation

Working on investigative reports is different from daily reporting. These tips will help you hone your focus in your initial reporting. Before you start reporting: If you are working with another reporter, set up a system for collaborating. This might involve in-person meetings and/or a digital tool. If you are using a database or databases to compile information for … Read More
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Why it matters where you place modifiers in a sentence

Location is key with modifiers — those words or phrases that describe something in your sentence. Put them in the wrong spot and the sentence is unclear or, worse, inaccurate. Here are some common problems: Dangling Modifiers You'll run into this when you start a sentence with a phrase. Make sure the beginning phrase matches the subject of the sentence. Read More
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Florida's sunshine laws: Ethics

The main purpose of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees in the state of Florida is to promote the public interest and maintain public respect for government. Under the code, public officials must be independent and impartial and must refrain from using public office for private gain. The ethics laws generally consist of two types of provisions: … Read More
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How 'quotes' differ from 'dialogue'

The quote offers your audience these benefits: It introduces a human voice. It explains something important about the subject. It frames a problem or dilemma. It adds information. It reveals the character or personality of the speaker. It introduces what is next to come. Most quotes are above or outside the action of the story. Quotes are "about" the action, … Read More
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Here are 4 guidelines for audio in multimedia stories

As you plan your multimedia story, you have to decide which tools (video, audio, photos, graphics, etc.) would best tell each part of the story. Good audio makes still photos and video seem more intense and real. Bad audio makes video seem worse than it is, and it detracts from the drama of still photos. Here are some general guidelines … Read More
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5 guidelines to protect yourself from legal risks while reporting

Whether a story is published or not, your conduct during the reporting process can result in severe liability. Here are some guidelines to protect yourself from legal risks that arise in the course of gathering news information. Be careful what you promise. Don’t promise sources or subjects more than you are willing or able to deliver. Try to keep your … Read More