Archive for the ‘Reporting’ Category

Links are essential for online postings

November 5, 2007

I really liked Chris Walden’s story “Legacy of Action” that focuses on suicide on campus, showing how a student government member has used his influence to create a Suicide Awareness initiative. This story has some good sources, offering perspectives on a sensitive subject and extending coverage of a story (mental health) worth following up.

I am also very pleased this story includes many links online, something the online staff has been working on. Our readers can gain more perspective, for example, on Eastern’s Counseling Center and the Center for Disease Control. We also link to a site created for a young woman who committed suicide, plus we link to stories on two people who, unfortunately, have struggled with mental health issues. Readers can learn more about this topic by clicking through. Links add layers to our stories. In reality, a 600-word print story has the same impact of one twice that size online thanks to the links.

We cannot ask our online editors to add all of these links, however. Each reporter needs to add a few to the end of stories as well. Let editors know where you found essential information or where one can learn more about your topic. That’s a big help for editors and readers. Keep up the good work.

Emily tells interesting stories

October 30, 2007

Emily Zulz continues to write top-notch stories. She does a terrific job finding an angle, or person, that characterizes her assignment. Today’s precede on the EIU Pride event easily could been flat, resulting in a dull story that mostly cites facts and meeting times. Instead, she sought to find a story that helps characterize this event (bless you!) I LOVE stories, just love’em. And I’m not alone. Let’s continue to find and tell them to our readers. That’s how we learn about the world, through stories. Or is it really through Facebook? Hmmm. Anyway, make sure you read Emily’s terrific precede, as well as some of her other work. They are worth emulating.

Here is the beginning of her story.

Mason Abernathy cannot find high heels in a women’s size 16, extra wide.

He also is not sure yet if he will wear long gloves or get his nails done.

However, he said he does have a “wonderful” black and white dress.

Abernathy, freshman undecided major, is participating in “Hug a Queen or King.”

EIU Pride will host the event today in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union walkway outside the University Food Court.

Queens and kings will be available for hugs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 to 7 p.m.

“I’ll be Miss Beautiful there,” Abernathy said. “That’s what you can call me.”

The event is part of Pride’s celebration of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender History Month, which ends Oct. 31. LGBT History Month started on Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day.

Here’s a great database

October 2, 2007

The Des Moines Register offers its readers some great resources on its interactive page. You can find the salary for more than 75,000 state employees, calculate property taxes, check on graduation rates for Iowa’s counties — or even find the most popular names for pets. Check it out by clicking here.

Let’s start assembling some databases ourselves. Add links to sites that work best for you in the comments section below.

Tips on how to be a better journalist

September 30, 2007

Paul Bradshaw offers 10 tips for becoming a better journalist online while Bryan Murley offers five more tips on how to be a better online journalist. You should try to check out both of these excellent blogs as often as you can.

You might want to emulate these stories

September 28, 2007

Michael Cortez did a great job writing about banned books today. The lead draws us in with short informational sentences, conflict, and then ties it all together with a nice nut graph. Here are the lead elements.

Roy and Silo.
Two penguins at the Central Park Zoo.
Together, they incubated an abandoned egg until it hatched.
They raised the baby penguin, Tango, and were a happy family.
Here’s the catch: Roy and Silo are both males.
This children’s story is the most challenged book of 2006. The book is called “And Tango Makes Three” and is written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. This book is one of 546 books that were challenged in 2006. Booth Library will celebrate Banned Books Week, which begins Saturday and ends Oct. 6.

The story also includes expert sources (an associate director of the office for intellectual freedom for the American Librry Association, the dean of Booth Library, a faculty member who has some expertise on the topic, and a research librarian who produced the exhibit.) This story is sourced well, written well, offers context, and is timely. Good job.

Emily Zulz also did a nice job telling stories about the study abroad program. She also offered key information. She did not just explain study abroad as if it were written for a boring brochure. These stories offer insight into the program in a much more interesting manner.

And Stacy Smith wrote a funny, engaging story on a visiting comedian. The story does not just rely on insights from the comedian, Dan Cummins. Stacy also offered comments from his wife and a manager for a comedy club where Cummins has performed. This was fun to read. This is how we should approach precedes (and precedes are more important than follows because readers can then go out and attend these events.)

Here’s how to cite info from web sites

September 27, 2007

Who speaks for a website? Online communities often operate as a news medium, rather than a traditionally staffed news publication. Other news reports about these sites, to be fully accurate, should reflect that fact by citing the individual author of information found on the site, rather than just the site itself. OJR editor Robert Niles proposes a three-point checklist that reporters ought to follow whenever citing information they find on the Web.

Here’s the checklist:
1) When you find information you wish to cite online, note both the author of the information as well as the website upon which it originally appeared.
2) Make a good faith effort to determine the author’s relationship to the site. Read the author’s profile (often linked from the byline), or the “about us” or FAQ section of the site to see if the author of the information is the publisher, editor or other paid representative of the site.
3) If the author is not, the citation of the author’s information should be to “[the author], writing on [the site].” If the author is a paid representative of the site, then the citation should note that relationship, i.e. to “[the author], [the relationship] of [the site].”

Click here to read the rest of the story.