Journalism Tips for the New Year

reporter_taking_notesJournalism.co.uk‘s Editors’ blog has some great tips for journalists in 2010. The website is a hub for the industry, so its advice bears particular weight. John Thompson, publisher and owner of the site, wrote a similar list at the start of 2009 that he still considers relevant, so he says that this year’s is merely an addendum.

Thompson’s tips include suggestions for adopting technology into journalism. It’s unavoidable, as he points out. The line between print and screen needs to be fluid, and the most successful reporters should be able to adapt. The fluidity of online communication influences another tip from Thompson: “Stories do not have to end once they are published online.” Stories that are published on the web can be edited to reflect updates to the news rather than requiring a new page. Readers won’t need to search your site for the newer version of the story, and it makes your reporting more solid. It is important to be transparent with your additions or revisions, Thompson stresses, even if the changes are made due to a mistake.

Thompson mentions that Twitter can be a useful tool in monitoring breaking news or topical discussions. He also included it on the 2009′s list. Thompson recommends TweetDeck to help track others’ tweets. My personal favorite is Social Oomph, which will send email notifications for tweets using certain keywords, similar to what Google Alerts does for the blogs and news sites. The results are not as immediate as the TweetDeck’s, but the research is a lot more passive.

A broader approach to the Twitter suggestion is to collaborate with your fellow journalists, even those outside of your organization. Thompson links to a Mashable article entitled “7 Ways News Media are Becoming More Collaborative” that gives some great examples of this trend. Vadim Lavrusik at Mashable writes:

With the turn of the decade, the news media are seeing shifts from hyper competition to collaboration. News organizations are partnering to produce the news, while journalists are working with the audience to bring them content that they demand. Media mavens too are hoping for more collaboration in the coming year, perhaps with more action from media executives as well.

Perhaps Thompson’s most important point of all is, “Core journalistic skills are still crucial.” Regardless of whether you are reporting via a print or online medium, your writing is still what matters. Be truthful and factual, and stretch those writing muscles. Don’t let the online format make you lazy.

SOURCE: “Ten things every journalist should know in 2010,” 01/14/10
SOURCE: “7 Ways News Media are Becoming More Collaborative,” 12/29/09
Image by Quinn Dombrowski, used under its Creative Commons license.

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