How To's

Quick tips for building journalism skills, from reporting to using Twitter. Suggest or submit a How To.

Another downsizing? Here are 5 ideas for helping your staff move forward

Acknowledge that your newsroom has lost people. Don't pretend it didn't happen. (Photo by Deposit Photos) The note from management hit the bulletin board on a Friday afternoon. It was October 1981. The note said that in two weeks, 30 members of the newsroom staff of 150 would be laid off—a 20 percent reduction. Those interested in voluntarily accepting … Read More

Searching for a news anniversary angle? Look to your audience

For Katrina's fifth anniversary, CNN partnered with local residents to shoot a series of then-and-now photographs. (Katie Hawkins-Gaar/CNN) Every journalist knows the drill: As a milestone anniversary of a notable event approaches, the planning meetings and team discussions begin. How are we going to cover this? What’s our angle? How many resources will we devote? The 10th anniversary … Read More

Why I always play music during writing workshops

The most fun I have as a teacher is when I can incorporate music into writing instruction. (Photo by Armondo Solares) I was 46 years old, and my life and time were filled by three pursuits: teaching writing, coaching girls soccer and playing in a rock band. My imagination was born, or reborn, that year in 1994. Read More

Here are 20 story ideas for covering the blizzard

Anybody who needs these ideas will be really busy for the next several days, so I am going to write sparsely to avoid taking up their time. -Craigslist helps you find "Blizzard Boyfriends or Girlfriends?" You know this just seems like a bad idea, but it seems that people are going to CL to find winter warmth. Be careful … Read More

One reporter's journey to Cuba and how to get the story

Flag and fins - Harrison reporting from Cuba. (Photo by Carlos Harrison)The announcement came as a total surprise. The United States and Cuba would normalize diplomatic relations, ending their half-century-old Cold War stalemate. It was a big story. Even bigger in South Florida. They don’t call it Little Havana for nothing. As a Miami-based freelancer I knew that all … Read More

5 lessons the St. Louis Post-Dispatch learned from covering Ferguson

A demonstrator throws back a tear gas container after tactical officers worked to break up a group of bystanders on Chambers Road near West Florissant on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Credit: Robert Cohen The solar hot water systems teamwork and quick thinking required to tell the biggest story in St. Louis transformed the newsroom at the … Read More

Live hangout: lessons from Ferguson

A demonstrator throws back a tear gas container after tactical officers worked to break up a group of bystanders on Chambers Road near West Florissant on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Credit: Robert Cohen How did the St. Louis Post-Dispatch keep its journalists safe while reporting on the protests and riots in Ferguson? How did the staffers build and maintain … Read More

8 Tips for Techno-Evangelists

Journalism and technology don’t always go together very well. I think there’s a natural conflict between the gathering of news and information and the various means of packaging and distributing it. This conflict is especially challenging for newsroom managers. On one hand, they want to focus on the journalism; on the other, they need to stay aware of technological … Read More

Killing the game story would be a shame

My love for almost everything began with a love for sport writing, and it remains my favorite kind of journalism. In the early days it was the game story that most excited me. There was so little television coverage of sports back then – no replays or ESPN and the like – that if you wanted a good accounting, you read … Read More

Tracking political spending on television ads just got easier

Starting today, all TV and radio stations must send records of political advertising buys to the FCC.  Until now, only 230 stations in the top 50 markets had to file the records online. Starting today, more than 2,000 stations will turn over their records. It has been a long battle to make it easier for the public to see who … Read More

Access refined: Securely store your newsroom's passwords

Twitter. Instagram. Storify. Pinterest. Bitly. For editors, publishing and sharing the news often involves a frantic and time-consuming search for the right username and password. Was it written on an spreadsheet or squirreled away in a desk somewhere? Where did that sticky note go? Worse yet, the litany of passwords each editor is supposed to remember makes the prospect of … Read More