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Tips/Training

NEWS

5 motivators to engage your viewers

The lead of your story has to speak to what motivates viewers to sit and watch. Here are five motivators for engaging viewers with a news story on TV or the web: Money Family Safety Health Community You can address the “safety” motivator in crime stories, in stories about unsafe cars or in stories about texting or talking on the … Read More
NEWS

6 questions to guide the way you engage with your audience

Audience engagement is more than just a buzzword — it's an essential part of journalism. By focusing on three topic areas — transparency, listening and outreach — you can build trust and engagement with audiences in today’s political landscape. Here's a checklist to help you get started with meaningful audience engagement from Jennifer Brandel, founder and CEO of Hearken: … Read More
NEWS

8 techniques for finding and fixing errors in your writing

Mistakes are not necessarily an indicator of skill — or lack thereof. Certainly, a journalist who consistently makes factual errors is in need of training and guidance. But any of us can make a mistake at any time. Here's a list of useful tips and tricks for identifying and preventing mistakes in your work. Start every interview by asking the … Read More
FROM THE POYNTER INSTITUTE

How writing a Pulitzer Prize-winning story is like eating a big slice of pizza

For Diana Sugg, writing a big story is a little bit like eating a slice of pizza. Don't try to bite off more than you can chew at the beginning, said Sugg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editor at The Baltimore Sun. Start with the small end. The slice — and the story — gets wider the farther in you go. At the beginning, … Read More
NEWS

7 questions to guide your voice as a writer

Memorable writing has a strong voice. But how do you develop the genuine tone that distinguishes your writing? Consider these components: What is the level of language? Is it concrete or abstract or somewhere in between? Do you use street slang or the logical argument of a professor of philosophy? What "person" do you work in? Should you use "I" … Read More
NEWS

7 ingredients for effective reviews

Powerful reviews do more than offer a list of observations about a movie, TV show or play. Reviews, like all forms of opinion writing, work best when they tell a story and connect with their audience. Eric Deggans, the TV critic for NPR, shares these strategies. Be a griot. Just like the African poets and storytellers who told the history … Read More
NEWS

2 ways to put numbers in context

In honor of Pi Day on March 14 (Pi is approximately 3.14159 — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter), today's Coffee Break Course celebrates math. When reporting on numbers, give them some context so you can present a broader picture to your readers. For example: Cost of Living. Adjust for inflation so that the … Read More
NEWS

4 ways to dig deeper in stories of faith and religion

Stories about religion are not just about a church, temple or mosque. Here are some guiding questions to help you tell stories with context and credibility. Motivation. Religious belief or morality is often used to justify assertions or behaviors--and it can also be used as a screen to disguise other motivations. Are there other factors or concerns at stake in … Read More
NEWS

5 tips for writing blog posts

Even the best writers struggle from time to time in crafting their work. This can be especially tricky for bloggers, who want to produce a steady flow of content for their audience. Not to worry. Every writer faces this dilemma. Here are some strategies to kick-start your work. Try the Hemingway Trick for Early Productivity Ernest Hemingway concluded his writing … Read More
FROM THE POYNTER INSTITUTE

How to address the challenges of covering the opioid epidemic

New York –  Pat Beall said she and her colleagues at The Palm Beach Post had been consistently reporting on Palm Beach County’s growing opioid epidemic, highlighting the lives of a few of the victims and the toll their death took on families and the larger community. But it wasn’t enough. Each story would get a little attention, but within … Read More
NEWS

How to replace 'planning' with 'doing' in your work culture

Brainstorming new ideas is easy. Changing the culture to launch successful new projects is difficult. Here are some way to bring a startup culture into your organization. Divide and conquer: Pick two or three small teams and give them decision-making authority. Allow them to launch anything the whole team agrees is worth trying. One caution: Certain types of people prefer … Read More
NEWS

8 steps for building your writing process

Writing is a process – a set of predictable, repeatable steps in the journey to the finished work. While there are probably as many processes are there are writers, here are some of the identifiable steps. Explore: All good writers express a form of curiosity, a sense that something is going on out there. See your world as a storehouse … Read More
NEWS

4 places to find story ideas for investigative reporting

Investigative reporters turn routine observations, reports, tips and conversations into questions about the way the world works. Curiosity is your starting point for great stories. Here are some places to begin: Observation. Be curious about the people and places you see every day. Your questions may be the seed of an idea for an investigative story. Tips. Tips can come … Read More
NEWS

4 guidelines for writing SEO-friendly headlines

Headlines are lifelines to our readers. They grab attention, build trust and help time-pressed consumers focus on the stories they care most about. They link readers with our content, giving us a chance to reach our audience across a sea of information. Headlines also help search engines decide whether our offerings match what users are looking for. Most search queries … Read More
NEWS

6 ways to spread facts

The simple but frustrating truth is that facts alone are not enough to convince people. Even the most thorough, accurate piece of reporting might still be trumped by a poorly reasoned and false counterargument. Therefore, it's crucial to understand how to publish persuasive factual journalism. Here are some tips for spreading facts: Don't Hesitate: Act quickly to dispel and debunk … Read More
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