ADVERTISEMENT

Storytelling, Writing and Reporting

NEWS

AP style change: Singular they is acceptable 'in limited cases'

For the first time, The Associated Press now permits journalists to use "they" as a singular pronoun. The AP announced the style change Friday at the American Copy Editors Society conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. The change follows years of questions among copy editors, reporters and editors about the use of language specifically about people who are non-binary … Read More
NEWS

Down by 3 with the game on the line? Call The Washington Post's Chuck Culpepper

Trailing by three, Clemson was driving against Alabama late in a pulsating, nerve-racking College Football Playoff championship game. Deadline for The Washington Post’s Chuck Culpepper meant filing almost immediately after the game ended. Culpepper looked at his computer, and only a couple of paragraphs stared back at him. Did he panic, knowing he had to generate an entire story on … Read More
NEWS

How a freelance journalist told the real story of the U.S. Yemen raid

Iona Craig, who reported on the aftermath of the botched Navy SEAL raid in Yemen for The Intercept from Yeman, did so with the help of the Pulitzer Center. Iona Craig. Grants from the Pulitzer Center go a long way for international journalists who eke out a difficult existence covering tough stories from dangerous places. The details of her … Read More
NEWS

Meet the tiny nonprofit behind the world's most ambitious journalism

Iona Craig, a prototypical high-wire journalist without much of a safety net, recently found herself in a broken-down car with no phone reception by a riverbed in war-torn Yemen. The Irish-British freelancer was taking a labyrinthine three-day, 1,000-mile trek to a desolate village that was site of botched and murky raid by Navy SEALS. Given the perils of … Read More
NEWS

Remembering Jimmy Breslin and the 'gravedigger' school of news writing

I am a writing teacher, not a beat reporter. No one calls me "scoop." So it was fun last September to help break the news that the Daily Beast was about to publish a new piece of work from Jimmy Breslin. It was a pleasure to analyze the essay, part of a fictionalized memoir, and reflect on the work … Read More
NEWS

Here are 20 of the best open-records stories so far this year

Last week, journalists and media organizations around the country observed Sunshine Week, an annual event to celebrate transparency and open government. They reported on problems and areas of promise in holding government accountable. I’ve compiled a list of more than a dozen Sunshine Week stories from around the nation, including a project I worked on with a coalition of reporters … Read More
NEWS

Meeting Jimmy Breslin, the best bleeping newspaper columnist of all time

I met Jimmy Breslin when he was 59 years old, when 59 seemed old. It was in a theater in Louisville, where rehearsals were underway for a play he had written, of all things. "If this makes it," he said, "then it’s goodbye to city rooms." It didn’t, and nobody was betting a new career as a playwright would have … Read More
NEWS

Did Donald Trump just come up with a new use for quotation marks?

I think that Donald Trump has invented a new use for quotation marks. In several now-famous tweets, the president accused Barack Obama of wiretapping him during the election. Trump used quotation marks around versions of the word but also used the word without quotes. When the accusation was criticized from many quarters, Trump, and those speaking for him, said that … Read More
NEWS

Secretary Tillerson allows Fox News, excludes others from DMZ meeting

During his trip to the Korean Demilitarized Zone Friday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson excluded the pool reporter representing U.S. networks from a meeting, allowing a team from Fox News to be admitted instead. Tillerson was visiting the United Nations Command, Military Armistice Commission meeting room in the DMZ's Joint Security Area, the so-called "truce village" where negotiations between North … Read More
NEWS

Meet the man who calls journalists on their own B.S.

It's a story that's cherished in the hearts of journalism students across the United States: Two enterprising Washington Post reporters, hungry for a big story, dig deep into Richard Nixon's secretive presidency and expose wrongdoing that eventually pushes him out of office. Except it didn't happen that way. Not exactly. In fact, the enterprising heroes of Watergate, Bob Woodward and … 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

Jay Rosen on the hazards of journalism-as-usual under the Trump administration

In his 30-plus year career as a professor at New York University, Jay Rosen says he can't remember a time when the relationship between journalists and the White House was more poisonous or fundamentally undemocratic than it is under President Trump. "I don't think there are many parallels to what we're seeing now," Rosen said. "There's so much about this … Read More
NEWS

Bureau chiefs 'deeply concerned' that Rex Tillerson is ditching the press on Asia trip

D.C. bureau chiefs from major news organizations, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the wire services, Fox News and CNN sent a letter to the State Department earlier this week protesting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's decision to ditch reporters on his upcoming trip to Asia. "We were deeply concerned to hear that Secretary … Read More
ADVERTISEMENT