Reporting Guidelines

The Daily Eastern News Guidelines

These are general requirements for all news stories submitted to The Daily Eastern News. These are by no means comprehensive; rather, they are intended to give student-journalists sufficient working knowledge to get started as a reporter for the DEN. Stories not following these guidelines will be rejected or returned for revision. Students who continuously fail to abide by these guidelines will no longer be assigned stories.

1. All those working for the Daily Eastern News must abide by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics that requires journalists to offer a comprehensive account of events and stories, to seek truth and report it, to treat source with respect, to avoid conflicts of interest, to be accountable and clearly explain the news. Journalists may not interview friends or family, nor create sources of information. Failure to abide by these ethical codes will result in immediate suspension from further reporting opportunities.

2. All stories must have at least two primary or expert sources. A source is a person whom you interview for information. Web sites and press releases do not count as sources. Expert sources are people who have expertise or direct knowledge of the issues/ events you are reporting on. In addition, get reaction comments from people affected by the story.

3. Writers must provide staff editors with the contact information of their sources. This includes name, title and phone number. Do not interview friends, neighbors, boyfriends, or girlfriends for your stories. Failure to submit this list will prevent a story from running.

4. All stories should have at least three direct quotes. A direct quote is something a source said word-for-word. Use tape recorders, if necessary.
• Direct quote: “The budget this year is stronger than it has ever been,” Cooley said.
You should also concisely explain what sources say by using indirect and paraphrased quotes. These are not direct quotes.
• Indirect/paraphrased quote: Cooley said the budget is strong this year.

5. When covering a speech or meeting, do not begin the story: “A group met to discuss,” “So-and-so came to Eastern to speak about,” “They visited Eastern.” And do not lead with the time and place of an event. This secondary information can be added in subsequent paragraphs. Instead, begin these stories with the most interesting/important thing a speaker said.
• “Students do not know their rights, says a prominent First Amendment attorney.”

6. Names must be spelled correctly and titles must be accurate. Check names and titles in the Eastern phonebook. Also, follow format in The Associated Press Stylebook, which you should bring with you when you write your stories. Refer to it often.

7. Read previous articles written on the topic you are covering in the DEN archives before you write the story. This will help you become familiar with the topic you are working with.

Exceptions to these guidelines will be made on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the news editors. Keep this list and refer to it when in doubt. Thank you.


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