Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Elevate news, create dominant image

February 12, 2008

We published three good news stories in today’s newspaper on enrollment, a follow on the young man who sadly ended his life, and a folo on the Vagina Monologues. The two same-sized photos, though, fought one another and the main story — the enrollment — did not get the boldest headline. I revamped today’s front page to illustrate how we could have both elevated the news and created a dominant image. 



Another reason we should focus online

February 7, 2008

Capital Times Stuns Staff, Shifts From Print To Internet MADISON, WI – The Capital Times newspaper in Madison today told readers that they are making a “major shift” to the Internet to reflect the “changing habits of afternoon newspaper readers.” The 90-year-old newspaper will cease six-day publication and shift to publishing a tabloid-sized edition only twice per week while “dramatically enhancing” its Web site.That was big news today in Wisconsin not only to the newspaper’s readers but to The Capital Times’ staff as well, who didn’t know anything about the announcement until a 8:30 a.m. meeting was called this morning.

We need to think harder on some news decisions

October 22, 2007


We buried a major story in briefs this morning, the one where $1 million was donated to the university. That’s not chump change, folks. That’s a helluva endowment. This is a story worth at least the lead story on page 3. We received the press release Friday, meaning we could have spoken with key people through the weekend for a more fully developed story for this morning. The release had a pretty darned good angle (and a picture).

CHARLESTON – Harold and Lois Joseph’s decision to leave their estate to Eastern Illinois University was based primarily on their love for a woman who graduated from the institution more than a century ago.

Charleston resident Mary Coon Cottingham attended the opening of what was then Eastern Illinois State Normal School in 1899. A few years later, she began attending the teacher’s college, graduating in 1904.

Thirty-two years later, in 1936, Lois Cottingham – Mary’s daughter – also graduated from her mother’s alma mater.

Both women shared a fondness for writing. Although Lois was a math major, in training to teach, she worked on the staff of the student newspaper – the Eastern State News — where (according to the school’s yearbook) “her services (were) outstanding.”

We could have played off that angle or found another. Perhaps, that she was a DEN alum. (We also failed to cover Ted Gregory’s induction in to our journalism hall of fame, offering only a stand-alone picture and a short cutline.) We absolutely should have dug into the endowment story and given it the play it deserved.

Let fact boxes break up stories

October 22, 2007

Too often, we rely on hairlines to separate story packages; instead, use your art to make this distinction. The revised page below illustrates how this can be done — and rather easily. All I did was flop the two lower packages, moving the alumni story to the left side so the accompanying fact box could be used to separate the two packages. This also moves the art more to the middle, and thus breaks up the two columns of text originally run on the left-hand side. (Click on these thumbnail images to see full view.)





Come meet Deadspin’s editor

October 18, 2007

Will Leitch, the editor and founder of Deadspin, will be in the news room Friday afternoon to talk about sports and online journalism. This will be an informal discussion, so feel free to bring some other questions as well. Deadspin is one of the most popular sports web sites in the country, although it is far from the most traditional. Check out the site and this interview with Will for better perspective. We will meet in the Student Publication office a little before 2 p.m.

Editor in chief applications ready

October 17, 2007

I will be taking applications for Editor in Chief starting tomorrow
through Nov. 1. Interviews will be scheduled for Nov. 13 with the
final decision announced by Nov. 16. That will give the new EIC a few
weeks to prepare for the spring semester. Stop by my office to pick up
an application form as soon as possible.

Come meet Cam Simpson

October 2, 2007

Student Publications is going to have a reception from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday for Cam Simpson, an alum who has twice won the prestigious Polk Award. Check out his work, including a story on abuses by Iraq war contractors. Cam now covers the Middle East for the Wall Street Journal. Students can meet him and talk with him Wednesday afternoon. We’ll have refreshments.

DEN Code of Ethics

September 26, 2007

Daily Eastern News Code of Ethics

The Daily Eastern News serves and informs the Eastern community and the Charleston community.

Every person who works for The Daily Eastern News editorial staff must follow a Code of Ethics. If a person cannot follow the code he must consult the executive editorial staff.

Such a code is essential to building a certain amount of trust between the readers of this paper and the journalists working on it. This trust includes carrying out the job of a journalist with intelligence, objectivity, accuracy, and fairness. If this trust is broken, then we have failed as journalists.

Freedom of the press is to be guarded as an inalienable right of people in a free society. It carries with it the freedom and responsibility to discuss, question and challenge actions and utterances of our government and of our public and private institutions. Journalists uphold the right to speak unpopular opinions and the privilege to agree with the majority.

Journalists must be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know the truth.

1. Gifts, favors, special treatment, free travel, free meals or privileges can compromise the integrity of journalists. They should neither accept anything nor pursue any activity that might compromise or seem to compromise their integrity. Some gifts – free in particular – can be accepted only with the understanding that the journalist is not obligated to the source offering free travel; such exceptions shall be made because of the frugal nature of a student newspaper.

2. Pledges of confidentiality to news sources must be honored at all costs and therefore should not be held lightly. Unless there is a clear and pressing need to maintain confidential sources, sources of information should be identified. Journalists should make every effort to get information on the record. If that is not possible, journalists should seek information elsewhere. If that fails, journalists should get an on-the-record reason for not identifying the source and should include the reason in the story; also journalists should seek to identify the source by position, department or any other type of identification. When journalists agree to protect a source’s identity, that identity will not be made known to anyone. A journalist shall tell his editor of any confidential information only upon approval of the journalist’s source.

3. Political involvement, holding public office, secondary employment and service in community organizations should be avoided if it compromises the integrity of the journalist and his or her ability to report and edit with fairness. His or her life should be conducted in a manner which protects him or her from a conflict of interest. All journalists will notify the editor in chief in writing of any outside commitments that may affect their integrity. A journalist shall not be allowed to file a story where a conflict of interest is real or apparent.

4. Press releases from private sources should not be published without substantiation to their claims of news value.

5. Journalists will make constant efforts to print news that serves the public interest, despite the obstacles.

Good faith with the public is the foundation of all worthy journalism.
1. Truth is our ultimate goal.
2. Objectivity in reporting the news is a goal student journalists should strive for on this paper.
3. There is no excuse for inaccuracies or lack of thoroughness.
4. Newspaper headlines should be fully warranted by the contents of the articles they accompany. Photographs and telecasts should give an accurate picture of an event and not highlight an incident out of context.
5. Sound practice makes clear distinction between news reports and expressions of opinion. News reports should be free of opinion or bias and represent all sides of an issue.
6. Partisanship in editorial comment that knowingly departs from the truth violates the spirit of American journalism.
7. Journalists recognize their responsibility for offering informed analysis, comment, and editorial opinion on public events and issues. They accept the obligation to present such material by individuals whose competence, experience and judgment qualify them for it.
8. Special articles or presentations devoted to advocacy or the writer’s own conclusions and interpretations should be labeled as such.

The dignity, privacy, rights and well-being of people encountered during the course of gathering the news shall be respected.
1. Unofficial charges affecting the reputation or moral character shall not be published without giving the accused a fair chance to reply.
2. Errors shall be corrected with completeness and expediency. The Daily Eastern News shall print all corrections in a conspicuous place on Page 3.
3. Journalists should be accountable to the public for their reports, and the public should be encouraged to voice its grievances against the media. Open dialogue with our readers, viewers and listeners should be fostered.

The public’s right to know of events of public importance and interest is the overriding mission of the mass media. The purpose of distributing news and enlightened opinion is to serve the general welfare. Journalists who use their professional status as representatives of the public for selfish or other unworthy motives violate a high trust.

The Daily Eastern News code of ethics is based on the Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics.

Check in daily

September 26, 2007

Staff members should check into this blog for updates on style, journalism tips, newspaper procedures and critiques.

Hello world!

September 26, 2007

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