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Tips/Training

NEWS

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
NEWS

Lessons from Jerry Mitchell, the cold case reporter

Jerry Mitchell spent four years reporting the story of suspected serial killer Felix Vail. Earlier this month, 54 years after the death of Vail's first wife (his second and third wives are still missing), a jury in Louisiana found Vail guilty of murder. This isn't the first cold case Mitchell's investigations for … Read More
NEWS

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
NEWS

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
NEWS

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
NEWS

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
NEWS

Questions to ask non-profit staff when you're covering scientific research

Journalists talk to a variety of sources about scientific research. Different types of sources have different qualifications and can provide different types of information. Here are some considerations and questions when you are interviewing non-profit representatives about a study you are covering. For subject matter expertise, ask: Background and training Educational history Depth of knowledge in the field In the … Read More
NEWS

9 guidelines to access public and private property

While the First Amendment protects your right to engage in speech, it does not grant you complete access to the property of others. Here are some guidelines to protect yourself from legal risks. Get consent. If you have any doubts about your right to enter property, get consent to enter first. Don’t assume permission. Make sure your use of the … Read More
NEWS

How to plan your audio options before you start your story

Producing an effective audio narrative starts with extensive planning well before picking up a mic. When you’re considering audio treatment for a story, make a list of all possible sound sources at the primary physical location. Public events, for instance, are usually a great opportunity to get sound: There are plenty of voices (and interview opportunities), and there might be … Read More
NEWS

How reliable is your source? Start by asking these questions

Credible fact-checking is built on reliable sources. To evaluate a source's reliability, ask these questions about the organization behind the sources, data or reports: Who founded the organization? Why? What is that person’s background? Who funds the organization? Do the funders have a political or ideological mission? If there is a board of directors, who is on it? What organizations … Read More
NEWS

8 simple steps to edit better video

The best videographers are great video editors. All your work in the field won't matter unless you can assemble your shots into a coherent, compelling story. Here are some tips: Log all your video shoots to save time in the editing process. Log your best shots and your best sound bites so you know exactly what you have. Then use … Read More
NEWS

Broadcasters, what should you do when you get 'videobombed?'

Broadcasters in Rio for the 2016 Olympics have shown viewers wins and losses, scenic beaches and glimpses at struggles that will continue after the games are over. On BBC Four, they've also included a bachelorette party. BBC Four's Dan Walker was reporting from Copacabana Beach a few days ago when some unexpected guests stopped by. He was a good sport … Read More
NEWS

4 verbal listening skills when you're working with staff members

Leaders can help themselves and their staffs by practicing the art of active listening. Here are some verbal skills to help. Encouraging conveys interest, leading the reporter to keep talking. Don’t agree or disagree, but use noncommittal words with a positive tone of voice: "I see," "Uh-huh," "That’s interesting," "Hmmm ..." Restating shows that you're listening and lets the reporter … Read More
NEWS

How to find the untold stories in your community

Differences between people and communities play an important role in your coverage and your storytelling. Here are some ways to improve your ability to find and tell stories off the beaten path. Journalists don't have to share beliefs or have a commonality with the people you cover. Interview across differences by showing that you care, researching your subject's background, admitting … Read More
NEWS

Questions to ask during the first edit of a story

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 is during the first edit. Read More
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