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Tips/Training

NEWS

In covering election polls, watch these 3 terms

Determining which candidate is "ahead" is the most visible and potentially dangerous element to report in any election polls. Public opinion can change quickly and dramatically. Here are some areas where journalists should focus their attention when reporting on polls that compare voting intention: Margin of sampling error: You hear or read statements such as, “Candidate A leads Candidate B … Read More
FROM THE POYNTER INSTITUTE

Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media FAQs

The 2017 Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media will be held March 19-24 at Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Florida. Applications are open from November 1-30, 2016. To answer your first question: Yes, you are awesome and should probably apply. Can I apply if I live outside the U.S.? … Read More
NEWS

How to choose between 'that' and 'which' in your writing

The rules of grammar can seem complicated and rigid, but they will help you keep your writing clear and tell a story effectively. When the language is muddled, readers may get confused and quit reading. Here are guidelines for choosing between that and which in a sentence. The rule: Use which for clauses that offer incidental information; use that for … Read More
NEWS

10 ways to engage readers with alternative story forms

Non-traditional news story forms go by many names: charticles, non-narratives, storytelling devices, alternative story forms, ASFs and alts, among others. Some stand alone as a story, and some are supplemental: forms that clarify, complement and explain information in a traditional news story. Here's a look at some supplemental forms, with tips on how to use them effectively. If You Go: … Read More
NEWS

Covering inequality? Here are tips and tricks from the experts

CHICAGO — For Chicago-based journalist and author Alex Kotlowitz, storytelling is about pulling readers in and taking them on a journey. “The power of storytelling is this question of empathy,” Kotlowitz said at a recent Poynter seminar on economic inequality. “The challenge for us as storytellers — we have to find empathy with the people we’re writing about and be … Read More
NEWS

How to find that break-your-heart detail for your story

Every conversation and moment in your reporting process can yield powerful details that guide you to the heart of your story. Here are two ways veteran journalism Diana K. Sugg suggests to search for the clues that lead you to the "sacred moment" in journalism--when you discover what your story is really about. Constantly scan the beat. Read the email, … Read More
NEWS

Questions to ask when covering poll results

Journalists are constantly bombarded with data from polls, particularly as election day approaches. Here are some questions you should ask as you're covering the numbers: Who conducted the poll? Who sponsored or paid for the poll? How many people were surveyed and what's the margin of error? Who are respondents (registered voters, likely voters, state residents, etc.)? When was the … Read More
NEWS

Which is best? Who or whom?

The rules of grammar can seem complicated and rigid, but they will help you keep your writing clear and tell a story effectively. When the language is muddled, readers may get confused and have trouble understanding your story. Even worse, they may quit reading. Here's some help when you are unsure whether to use who or whom in a sentence. Read More
NEWS

How the basics of storytelling can help you cover a big event

Great writers get ready for the big story, even if they don't quite know what the story will be.  They report and report and research and then report some more. They expect the unexpected. And then they write powerful stories. Here are some tactics to guide you on the big story. Stick with the basics of telling a story: beginning, … Read More
NEWS

4 ways to create a compelling video story

Telling a story across platforms? Think about all the platforms you will be using (TV, online, mobile, print) before and during the reporting process. You're looking for opportunities to broaden a story or topic beyond the one angle or element you’re covering for a single platform. While you gather information for all platforms, you will approach a story differently for … Read More
NEWS

5 guidelines for writing about poll numbers

Reporting on polls or survey results is similar to reporting on any other news story: It requires attention to the same principles of journalism, such as always reporting with precision and without bias. In addition, journalists need to make the results understandable and intelligible for an audience that may have little statistical training. Here are some do's and don'ts for … Read More
NEWS

3 ways to find and fix mistakes in your writing

In the crush of deadline, it's easy for mistakes to creep into your writing. Even more, errors can happen at any point in the process. Whether you're writing a tweet, a breaking news story, an email or a book, here are some ways to find and fix those mistakes before you hit send. Pick out and highlight the who, what, … Read More
NEWS

How to tell news from advertising, publicity and more

Sorting through a daily flood of information to find news can present quite a challenge. Information can appear in print, on a website, in an audio or video package or on social media. Investigative reports, entertainment, propaganda and advertising can be presented in feature-length films. Here are some ways to put information into meaningful categories that will help you make … Read More
NEWS

How to encourage audience-first thinking

Audience engagement goes beyond traditional journalism to create an environment for listening to your community, sharing meaningful stories and responding to people's questions, wants and needs. Here are some ways to create room for engagement and audience-first thinking in your organization. Start small. Embrace a culture of learning (failure = not learning). Create space for a sandbox and protect that … Read More
NEWS

5 fact-checking questions editors should ask

Fact-checking needs editors, who are the final line of defense in ensuring objective and transparent fact checks. For starters, editors should follow the advice offered by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in their book, “The Elements of Journalism: What Newspeople Should Know and the Public Should Expect,” which outlines the principles of “the journalism of verification.” Editors should ask: Has … Read More
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