August 11, 2016

Differences between people and communities play an important role in your coverage and your storytelling. Here are some ways to improve your ability to find and tell stories off the beaten path.

  • Journalists don’t have to share beliefs or have a commonality with the people you cover. Interview across differences by showing that you care, researching your subject’s background, admitting ignorance, asking for help and treating subjects with respect.
  • To find and tell untold stories, look for a place where people congregate. Immerse yourself in that environment. Listen, absorb and get a real feel for what is going on.
  • Under-covered communities have a treasure trove of stories that no one else has ever told. Get into those communities, study the history and find local guides.
  • Be aware of the stereotypes and assumptions we all have that are based on our personal life experiences. Get new angles and real stories by going below the surface and look at the life behind the labels you have put on things.
  • To understand others, understand yourself first. Authenticity occurs when you know where are are coming from before you try to figure out someone else.
  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Find out as much as you can, then go in with an open mind.

Taken from 100 Ideas to Make Your Journalism Better, a webinar replay at Poynter NewsU.

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Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current…
Vicki Krueger

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