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 surveys can help you understand your news audience

You want your audience to engage with your news product: read it, value it, think about it, talk about it, share it, return to it and trust it. So you have to understand your audience's behaviors, needs and motivations to create stories and products that are valuable and engaging. The deepest, most accurate understanding of your audience comes from quantitative … Read More
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Why you should be cautious about poll results

Numbers imply precision, so it can be tempting to accept poll results. Here are reasons journalists should be cautious about the numbers: Polls are not predictions; they are snapshots of opinion at the time they were conducted. Polls can report only on the questions that were asked. There may be other important issues that were not included in the poll. Read More
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How to coach a writer before the writing starts

For an editor, coaching means engaging the writer in an ongoing conversation about the story, from the idea to the final edit. You probably will spend less time "fixing" a story when it comes in if you invest time throughout the reporting and writing process. One key moment to coach is after the reporting but before writing. Here are some … Read More
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How to report on the differences among scientific studies

How do you make sense of scientific data so that you can translate to your audience? First, know your data. Data from different types of studies means different things. Animal studies. We care about, and report on, scientific studies that involve animals for one reason: If something causes a health problem in an animal, we assume that the same substance … Read More
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3 guidelines for a good story pitch

Pitching a story is a particularly important skill in broadcast, because air time is so precious. Pitches need to prod, pique and provoke. You need to make it impossible for an editor or producer to say no. And if you're a freelancer , pitching is an essential skill. Getting good at pitching has an unexpected, high-impact side effect: It helps … Read More
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Editors, here are 5 tips for working with writers

Today we announce a new training program and certificate with our partners at the American Copy Editors Society. Since 2013, Poynter and ACES have created 25 online courses on the craft of editing. Today's Coffee Break Course comes from one of those courses, Fundamentals of Editing. Relationships between writers and editors can be sensitive. A writer might … Read More
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Want to guard against mistakes? Watch your technology and workflow

To think that making an error is something we alone cause or control is to ignore the larger systems and factors at play. Our brains play an undeniable role in the mistakes we make. It's true we can be tired, rushed or sloppy. But there are other elements at work, too. Here are some other factors that cause errors and … Read More
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8 questions that will sharpen a story idea

For an editor, coaching means engaging the writer in an ongoing conversation about the story, from the conception of the idea to the final edit. The more time and thought you invest in this conversation, the less work you will likely face in “fixing” the story when it comes in. One key moment in coaching: after the idea, but before … Read More
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4 essential questions to ask about scientific studies

When it comes to scientific studies and research, you can start by asking the same basic questions, including: Who funded the research? Are there connections to big industry or advocacy groups? What biases might be at play, based on the study's or researcher's funding history? Who conducted the study? Are the study authors academics or consultants? Or both? Sniff out … Read More
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How to identify a "push poll"

It happens  every election cycle. You’ll get a call that sounds like a political poll but is really a campaign tactic. Some calls are “push polls,” political telemarketing that attempts to create negative views of candidates or issues. Others are legitimate message-testing surveys, used by campaigns to see which types of messages will be most successful. Here’s how you can … Read More
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Are you asking "green-light" questions in your interviews?

In an interview, questions can be keys that open a door to a person’s life or beliefs. Or, they can act as padlocks, barring you from discovering the information and stories you need to do your job. Good questions make the difference between an answer and a quotable answer. Reporters just starting out often blame taciturn sources -- stonewalling police, … Read More
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3 ways to start reporting on your investigative project

Working on investigative reports? If you are looking at a system — a government program, juvenile courts, corporate regulation — your preparation should include: Reading a report that will provide an overview and explain how the system is supposed to work. Talking to someone who understands the system — a "road-map source." He or she can explain how the system … Read More
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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