Poynter Results

  • Tips/Training


    Checklists for covering 3 kinds of beats

    Many traditional beats are defined geographically, either as a neighborhood (territorial) or a city or county (jurisdictional). Some areas that your beat covers may be obvious; others may not. Here are some places to include in jurisdictional beats.

    City hall and local government

  • In-person teaching

    Covering the Issues Ahead in Trump’s Second Year

    The Affordable Health Care Act: Identify what is not working and what could be done to fix those problems.

    Cyber Security: How susceptible and prepared are local, county and state governments to cyber attacks? What about the threat to the nation’s electrical grid and pipelines? What do journalists need to know about issues of private cyber security? How do cyber crimes affect business and finance?

  • Tips/Training


    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?


  • Tips/Training


    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


    4 ways to dig deeper in stories of faith and religion

    Stories about religion are not just about a church, temple or mosque. Here are some guiding questions to help you tell stories with context and credibility.

    Motivation. Religious belief or morality is often used to justify assertions or behaviors--and it can also be used as a screen to disguise other motivations. Are there other factors or concerns at stake in the story besides religious conviction?

    Faith. Dig deep to find why people struggle for the sake of their faith. Do you understand what motivates the people in the story?

  • Tips/Training


    How to find that break-your-heart detail for your story

    Every conversation and moment in your reporting process can yield powerful details that guide you to the heart of your story. Here are two ways veteran journalism Diana K. Sugg suggests to search for the clues that lead you to the "sacred moment" in journalism--when you discover what your story is really about.

    Constantly scan the beat. Read the email, take the phone calls, talk to people. Be aware of that moment when you realize, "I don't hear about that much." It's a signal that you've found your story.

  • Tips/Training


    How solutions journalism makes your reporting stronger

    Solutions journalism is a "howdunnit" approach that offers rigorous and compelling coverage about responses to social problems — reporting that adheres to the highest of journalistic standards. This approach makes watchdog reporting even stronger. Here are other strengths of solutions journalism.

    Solutions Journalism Provides Context

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