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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3 ways to put more power in your video stories

When words and images compete, pictures win and your viewers misunderstand your story. But when words, images and audio work together, you give your story greater power and meaning. Explain the video Enrich viewers' understanding of your story. Don't simply tell them what they are seeing in the video. Explain what they are not seeing. But be careful: Don't talk … Read More
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How headline writing and SEO collide

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) includes techniques (both editorial and technological) to ensure relevant content ranks well in search results on search engines. Good SEO calls for breaking--or at least re-examining--some established conventions of headline writing. Consider these ways that headline practices and SEO needs collide: Style issues. Conventional print headlines typically use last names only and abbreviations (in state names, … Read More
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How to write a clear fact-check

Fact-checkers often have to check statements that are confusing, unsupported and unclear. The fact-check addressing it should be the opposite. Focus on writing that offers context, clarity and transparency. Context Start by providing context to the claim you're checking. Where and when was it said? To whom? Is there a history of repetition? Is there a pronoun or reference that … Read More
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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