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.

Introduction to Reporting: Beat Basics

The best stories usually are the culmination of diligence and hard work. An invaluable part of this is the ability to find and develop sources. Here are some keys to building successful relationships with your sources. Be available Let people you cover know you're interested in hearing tips, suggestions, complaints, whatever. Make sure they have your phone … Read More

Becoming an Entrepreneurial Journalist: From Idea to Implementation

Determining whether your idea has potential as a business is a fairly simple equation: How much will it cost to produce your product or service? How much will people pay for your product or service? How many people will pay for your product or service? The bottom line: If it costs more to produce your product or service than people … Read More

Introduction to Investigative Reporting

The basic plan for investigative reporting often is a series of four lists of things you need to do, along with an initial schedule. The lists will change — and often grow — and the schedule may change, but you need to start with a plan to keep yourself organized. Research: List the documents and databases you need. Often, these … Read More

Understanding and Interpreting Polls

The Iowa caucuses kick off the primary season — and the flood of election polls that require special care for journalists. One tricky area: Even when done well, scientific polls can produce very different numbers at times. Here are some reasons election polls don’t always agree with one another. Time and field dates: Polls are snapshots at the time they are … Read More

Covering Climate Change

As the climate change story has expanded, so has the journalistic coverage. But you don't need to be an expert environmental reporter to cover the topic. Here's one key principle for your reporting: Do not conflate science and policy. They are separate things. Science informs policymaking but it does not dictate what policies should be chosen. If a … Read More

Reporting and Writing for TV and the Web

How do you take a collection of facts and tell a story that engages viewers? One simple way is to find a three-word focus for your story. Here is a checklist to guide you: What is the most interesting part about this story? (This is the main thrust of the story.) What surprised me? (This may be the lead.) What … Read More

Analytics 101: Understanding Digital Metrics

Uncovering numbers is a small part of the analytics battle. Figuring out which numbers are important and how the data can be applied effectively is crucial. Let's dig deeper with a couple of terms. Bounce rate (The percentage of people who land on your website and leave without clicking on anything else). Here are some possibilities for a high bounce … Read More

Clarity is Key: Making Writing Clean and Concise

Redundant phrases will clutter your writing and frustrate your readers. Review your writing for the obvious, and less obvious, culprits. For example: Join together = join Advance plan = plan General consensus = consensus End result = result She held in her hand a gift = She held a gift The decor included chandeliers slung from the ceiling = The … Read More

Tools for Smart Science Journalism

Got a new science report that seems a little too good to be true? It just might be. Here’s how you can sort fact from fiction in scientific studies: Look up the study online and confirm that it exists. Then find out whether the study was published in an open-access journal. Open-access journals were first designed to help scientists get … Read More

Six Rules of a Digital-First Newsroom

Want a digital-first mindset in your newsroom? Think less “digitally,” more “story.” Here's how you can move beyond metrics: Don’t just focus on the most popular Look at the middle of Chartbeat for new markets Remember your instincts as a journalist Ask questions about trending topics: What are people talking about? What are they not talking about? Advertisers and sponsors … Read More

Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling

The best multimedia stories are multi-dimensional. They include action for video, a process that can be illustrated with a graphic (e.g., "how tornadoes form"), strong quotes for video or audio, and/or powerful emotions for still photos and audio. They use the strengths of each medium to tell the story in a way that draws in readers. Multimedia stories also are … Read More

Getting It Right: Accuracy and Verification in the Digital Age

One sure-fire way to prevent errors is to create a list of the mistakes you are most likely to make — and create a checklist to help you avoid those mistakes. To create your personalized accuracy checklist: Identify the specific tasks that you perform on a regular basis for your work. Are there any specific pieces of information or actions … Read More

Ethics of Journalism

Every decision you make as a journalist has ethical overtones. You must be skilled enough — and confident enough — to weigh competing pressures and loyalties and to make choices that match your journalistic purpose and allow you to uphold the ethical values that you, your organization and your profession hold dear. One key choice is the use of sources. Read More

Math for Journalists

It can be tough for readers, viewers and listeners to keep track of numbers in your story, whether it’s coverage of the Powerball frenzy or a routine City Hall meeting. These guidelines will help you reduce number clutter, increase the readability of your news report and help your audience better understand your story. Avoid ‘Number Soup.’ Use no more than … Read More

Writing Effective Photo Captions

Even if a picture is worth a thousand words, it still needs a caption to draw readers, provide context and tell the story. Here are some tips for writing powerful captions—whether in print or online. Keep captions short and direct. One to three sentences, in active voice, will hold your readers’ interest. Look at the picture. It may sound obvious, … Read More
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