Top 5 things journalists can learn from late night TV hosts

CBS announced on Thursday that Stephen Colbert will take over Dave Letterman’s spot at “Late Show.” Late night hosts seem to have a lot of fun with journalists, and they use some of our skills in their interviews. But what can we learn from them?

Here’s our Top 5 list, (10 would have been fitting, but I could only come up with five. Suggestions welcome.)

5. Names matter. Get the names right.

4. Along with data and listicles, consider the countdown Letterman’s made famous. Top 10 reasons to change all your passwords because of Heartbleed, Top 10 errors we regret from yesterday, Top 10 vital staff we’ll be losing because of layoffs. There are so many possibilities. (If this really is Letterman’s first Top 10, then it looks like the list was inspired by journalism.)



3. Small town news makes great late night news. Not sure if this one’s a lesson or a warning.

2. Copy sounds different when read aloud. Always read aloud.

1. When in doubt, just see what Rob Ford’s doing.

Howard Finberg and Sam Kirkland contributed to this piece.

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