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 leaders can stay focused on listening, even in a busy office

Leaders can help themselves and their team by practicing the art of listening. When you listen, you help staff members develop their ideas and skills, and help them do their best work. Every leader can hone their listening skills and become a better leader. The first step to wanting to listen. You have to believe that your team member has … Read More
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8 steps to revising your writing

To revise your writing, you need to see it through the eyes of a reader — a stranger to the text instead of the creator. Here's one recipe for revising your work. Print out your draft. The first step in achieving distance is to change the medium. You may see words on a page differently than those on a computer … Read More
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How to develop story ideas in science and environmental reporting

As you cover environmental and climate change issues remember: Nothing in science is ever fully definitive. There is still much to be discovered and understood. And keep in mind that covering policy is a little different from covering science. Here are some ways to explore your coverage: Look for divisiveness: Policy experts will disagree on major policy questions, which makes … Read More
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3 tips for rounding off numbers

It's so tempting to round off numbers and present your audience with clear, whole numbers rather than cluttering up the text with decimal points and a string of digits. Sometimes rounding a number up (or down) is just fine. But sometimes it creates an inaccurate picture. How can an ethical journalist tell the difference? Here are some guidelines: Percents often … Read More
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4 ways to use photos in your 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. The web is a visual medium, so be sure to include photos. Use photos to replace 1,000 words, not as accessories to words. Text and photos should complement each other visually, as well as in … Read More
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Use your X-ray vision to learn from other writers

One way writers learn from stories is to use their X-ray vision. (After all, Superman was also a newspaper reporter.) X-ray reading helps you see through the text of the story to view the machinery of grammar, language, syntax and rhetoric, the gears of making meaning, the hardware of the trade. Here are some X-ray reading tricks offered by writers: … Read More
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How to end your story in a way that lingers in your viewer's heart

Don’t spend all of your energy on the first half of your story only to allow the piece to run out of gas. What you show and say at the end are often what lingers in the viewer’s heart. Good endings resolve the main theme of the story. Negative Action Shot. Photojournalist friend Don Cadorette likes to have the subject … Read More
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A checklist of red flags for fact-checkers during breaking news

During breaking news situations, unverified information, rumors, fake photos and outright lies are unfortunately part of the process in social media. As a fact-checker, you don’t want to spread false information or spend time chasing a rumor. But how can you tell? Here’s a “red flag” checklist to consult during a breaking news event: “Answers” given too soon Anonymous sources … Read More
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How to interview for your audio narratives

The best interviews for audio narratives provide the facts around an issue and offer distinct moments that add color, interest and variety to a story. The basics of good interviewing apply to an audio story. But there are additional factors for audio narratives, especially if you’re planning to tell the story solely through interview clips, without the benefit of a … Read More
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How to include solutions in your interviews on social issues

Solutions journalism offers rigorous and compelling coverage about responses to social problems. As part of your reporting, consider these approaches to interviewing a wide range of stakeholders, including the people enacting the solution, those directly affected, detractors, funders, academics and more. Replace “Whodunnit?” with “Howdunnit?” In solutions journalism, what matters most is the wisdom found in the actions of your … Read More
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Your quest for a lead starts with these questions about your story

To write an effective lead, you have to know--first and foremost--what the story is about. Start with the five W's and an H: What happened? Who did it happen to? Where did it happen? When did it happen? Why did it happen? How did it happen? With that knowledge you can logically zero in on the two basic focusing questions: … Read More
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How to manage your reaction, and your response, in times of change

Change creates a mixture of anticipation, anxiety, uncertainty, dread, eagerness and fear. There is something important about these feelings. The words describe not the change itself, but how people typically feel when faced with change. Leading change is a matter of leading people. Here are some typical emotions you may feel when chance is announced and how you can manage … Read More
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Some guidelines to help you with copyright and fair use

Understanding copyright and fair use can help you avoid two things that are highly detrimental to publishing: costly litigation and self-censorship. When you are considering using someone else's work, here are some questions to help you with next steps. Do you need permission? Is this work protected under copyright, or is it in the public domain? If the work is … Read More
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Here's what the AP Stylebook says about when to capitalize names, titles

In honor of the Associated Press Stylebook changes on capitalizing internet and web (lowercase starting today), here are some other guidelines for capitalization. One rule of thumb to guide you: In general, avoid unnecessary capitals. Proper and Common Nouns Capitalize proper nouns and proper names: John, Mary, Nelson, Facebook. Capitalize common nouns such as party, river and street when … Read More
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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