Tips/Training

Poynter Results

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    6 questions to help you evaluate media messages

    Every time you watch TV, listen to radio, open a web site or read a newspaper, magazine or book, someone is trying to tell — or sell — you something. The best way to achieve media literacy is to evaluate all the messages that bombard you. Ask these questions to understand the message:

    Who created, or paid for, the message? The company, group or institution that creates a media message or that pays for the creation of a message has a reason or motive.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    What to avoid when writing online headlines

    Headlines are lifelines to our readers. They grab attention, build trust and help time-pressed consumers focus on the stories they care most about. They link readers with our content, giving us a chance to reach our audience across a sea of information.

    Headlines also help search engines decide whether our offerings match what users are looking for online or on mobile. Here are some guidelines for choosing your words--and deciding what to leave out of headlines.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    9 questions to focus your time on the beat

    The best reporters learn how the world works, whether it’s the world of law enforcement, the laboratory, the zoning commission, the city council or the corporate boardroom. One of the best ways to provide excellent coverage is to focus your efforts. Here's a checklist to help you think critically about how your spend your time:

    Enterprise Story Ideas:

    • What are some investigative opportunities?
    • What are some feature possibilities?
    • Where are the gathering places you need to frequent?

    Sources:

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    How to sift through your story ideas

    Writers see the world as a storehouse of story ideas. But not every idea is worth a story. Good writers sift the ideas, rejecting some (or most) and selecting the few that have potential. Here are some ways to sort through your ideas.

    Raise the bar. Be ruthless about whether this is a fresh idea or something you've seen so many times that it has become a cliche.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    5 motivators to engage your viewers

    The lead of your story has to speak to what motivates viewers to sit and watch. Here are five motivators for engaging viewers with a news story on TV or the web:

    • Money
    • Family
    • Safety
    • Health
    • Community

    You can address the “safety” motivator in crime stories, in stories about unsafe cars or in stories about texting or talking on the phone while driving. The “community” motivator might be a story about crumbling neighborhoods, the rise of social networks and the push for neighborhood schools.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    6 questions to guide the way you engage with your audience

    Audience engagement is more than just a buzzword — it's an essential part of journalism. By focusing on three topic areas — transparency, listening and outreach — you can build trust and engagement with audiences in today’s political landscape.

    Here's a checklist to help you get started with meaningful audience engagement from Jennifer Brandel, founder and CEO of Hearken:

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    8 techniques for finding and fixing errors in your writing

    Mistakes are not necessarily an indicator of skill — or lack thereof. Certainly, a journalist who consistently makes factual errors is in need of training and guidance. But any of us can make a mistake at any time.

    Here's a list of useful tips and tricks for identifying and preventing mistakes in your work.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    7 questions to guide your voice as a writer

    Memorable writing has a strong voice. But how do you develop the genuine tone that distinguishes your writing? Consider these components:

    What is the level of language? Is it concrete or abstract or somewhere in between? Do you use street slang or the logical argument of a professor of philosophy?

    What "person" do you work in? Should you use "I" or "we" or "you" or "they" — or all of these?

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    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 of a tribe, your work should tell a story. Each review should have a beginning, a middle and an end.

 
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