Tips/Training

Poynter Results

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    6 ways to spread facts

    The simple but frustrating truth is that facts alone are not enough to convince people. Even the most thorough, accurate piece of reporting might still be trumped by a poorly reasoned and false counterargument. Therefore, it's crucial to understand how to publish persuasive factual journalism.

    Here are some tips for spreading facts:

    Don't Hesitate: Act quickly to dispel and debunk myths. The longer journalists wait to challenge misinformation, the more entrenched the lies become.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    6 alternative story forms that can stand alone

    Standalone alternative story forms (ASF) do just what their name implies: They stand alone as independent stories, with no traditional story to accompany them. Like a standalone photo or graphic, the standalone ASF needs to be a complete story. It might be all the reader will see about the topic, particularly in print media.

    Typically, a standalone ASF begins with some introductory text. This is similar to the lead on a news story, but it can be more conversational in tone. Direct address, such as, "Here's what you need to know," often works well.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    4 factors that influence people's attitudes toward facts

    The simple but frustrating truth is that facts alone are not enough to provide context and clarity for your audience. Even the most thorough, accurate piece of reporting might still be trumped by a poorly reasoned and false counterargument.

    Decades of research into the way humans process information and deal with misinformation and propaganda show that people are more inclined to believe things that are in line with their existing views — even if proven truth contradicts their beliefs.

    Here are some factors that make it difficult to convince people of facts.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    How to write stronger sentences with fewer adverbs

    Use adverbs sparingly. At their best, they spice up a verb or adjective. At their worst, they express a meaning already contained in the sentence:

    • The blast completely destroyed the church office.
    • The cheerleader gyrated wildly before the screaming fans.
    • The accident totally severed the boy's arm.
    • The spy peered furtively through the bushes.

    Consider the effect of deleting the adverbs:

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    How observation can turn into an investigative story

    Ideas for great investigative stories come from many directions, including your daily activities. But good stories don't tell you they're good stories right away.

    For example, on your way to work, you may see vacant buildings, a homeless person, dangerous driving, a dilapidated bridge or broken traffic lights. Each of these could lead you to an investigative story if you start asking questions.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    How to provide context when writing about numbers

    Numbers crop up in media stories in the most unexpected places. Your goal is to provide context and the story behind the numbers. Here's how you can write about two terms — risk and rate — accurately and ethically.

    A rate compares quantities that are measured in different units: for example, an amount or frequency over time or other unit. Think of miles per hour, dollars per barrel, words per minute. Incidence per 100,000 residents can be used to compare numbers of sick people or murdered people or burglarized homes with a population as a whole.

  • Tips/Training

    Article

    8 ways to write shorter stories

    Do you feel (or your readers) feel as though your stories drag on too long? Do you struggle getting to the point of the story? Story length is a function of focus. When you (or your editor or teacher) has a keen understanding of the what the story is about, it will be easier to revise your work.

    Here are some approaches to help ensure that every word counts.

 
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