Are you making an assumption? A vital question most journalists forget to ask.

Survival Kit, Writing Help Comments Off on Are you making an assumption? A vital question most journalists forget to ask.
Jan 102016






I am going to make a bold statement. The more news I watch, the more obvious it is that many journalists, in the rush to be first, make a lot of assumptions. If you really take a critical look at a lot of high profile TV news gaffes, you’ll see the pattern. So let’s talk about how to ask a vital question more often in newsrooms while writing stories. How to avoid assumptions: Where did I get this information? How did the newsroom get the information? List confirmed specifics Reliability of source(s) The first question you must ask yourself is where did I get this information. I am using the […]






How To Speed Up Your Writing Time

Producing, Reporting, Survival Kit, Writing Help Comments Off on How To Speed Up Your Writing Time
Dec 032015






A common discussion I have with news managers and universities looking to place recent grads, is the huge workload journalists face today. It is becoming more of the norm for reporters to barely make deadlines not because they are lazy, but because there is so much to get done. Scarier yet, there are producers in top 5 markets, still writing in the booth during newscasts. And not because of a breaker. Why is this getting so common? Two reasons. First, the workload is truly much larger. Producers for example are now often editing vo’s and vosot’s in addition to writing them. Producers are also making their own maps and graphics […]






How To Write Suspect Descriptions

Survival Kit, Writing Help Comments Off on How To Write Suspect Descriptions
Nov 192015






With tensions heating up all over the world again, it is a good time to review how to write suspect descriptions. This issue came up recently on Twitter and it seemed some were confused on when to mention race and what elements of a description were most important. So let’s review. Suspect Description Must Do’s List SPECIFICS Include image if possible Avoid broad statements Now this list may seem a bit redundant but bear with me. The single most important rule when writing suspect descriptions is to be extremely specific. Otherwise it can appear that you are profiling. So to be clear, you cannot say “Police tell us the suspect […]






Journalists Experience PTSD, Too

Reporting Comments Off on Journalists Experience PTSD, Too
Nov 152015






We are the observers. We bear witness to society’s worst outcomes: dead bodies, mangled cars, weeping family members. The scale may be smaller than the horrific scenes of war American service members witness overseas. Yet journalists covering local tragedies are at risk of developing PTSD, too. I would submit photojournalists are particularly at-risk because they get sent out on everything. And as the years go by, all that trauma witnessing can literally affect our brain’s sense of well-being. Which reminds me, this is a brain issue. Not a “toughness” issue. Not a “you’ve lost your objectivity” issue. You have no need to feel guilty. Unfortunately, news executives do a poor […]






Attribution In The Digital Age

Honing Skills, Survival Kit, Writing Help Comments Off on Attribution In The Digital Age
Nov 052015






Recently, two stations in Boston were accused of not properly attributing a story by a competitor when writing off the AP wire. The AP copy attributed the story to a specific TV station. Two competitors did not mention that station in the story, but extensively used the wording the AP wire quoted in it’s attribution.  This Adweek story then goes on to state “While attribution is always the right thing to do, AP clients can rewrite stories to suit their audience, even leaving out attribution if they desire. But sometimes a tip of that hat can go a long way.” Technically this is true, but there’s an important point to […]






Can't See It? Then Tweet It!

Know Your Newsroom, Reporting, Social Awareness Comments Off on Can’t See It? Then Tweet It!
Oct 212015






By now you’ve probably heard about the big story this week. It was an embarrassing gaffe during a live shot about the Michigan and Michigan State football game. It was a game decided on the final play. The on-scene reporter went TV and said the wrong team won. The anchor then had to correct the mistake when the reporter tossed back to the studio. In this FTVLIVE article the sports anchor is quoted as writing on Facebook that “we tried bringing the most up to date stats as we could as we were going live at the exact moment everything was happening. Had two scripts written and ready to go and […]






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