SEO for journalists

SEO for journalists

I’m a reporter. What do I care about SEO? The answer should be “plenty,” if you care whether anyone sees that story you worked so hard on once it’s posted online. Here’s why: The digital audience is made up of seekers and scanners. People seeking information about a particular topic will search for it online. […]

Reading lists

Reading lists

Sometimes it just takes a little nudge. I’ve had a couple of reading lists on this site for years, and it’s been a long time since I updated them. So I’m grateful to the reader who pointed out that a lot of links were out of date and motivated me to fix them! I’ve just updated […]

Great TV storytelling tip: Connect the moments

Great TV storytelling tip: Connect the moments

You’ve probably seen the story. By now, millions of people have. Reporter Boyd Huppert of KARE-TV in Minneapolis calls it the story that broke the Internet–a feature about a little boy and his elderly neighbor that’s been viewed and shared all over the world. Plenty has already been written about why the story touched so […]

Storytelling advice: Beginning, middle, end

Storytelling advice: Beginning, middle, end

How many times have you heard this advice? Make sure your story has a beginning, middle and end. Even the great Lewis Carroll shared a version of the standard counsel in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said, very gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’” Sounds […]

Tips for telling vivid stories

Tips for telling vivid stories

The elements of engaging stories are universal: strong characters, plot, beginning-middle-end, tension, surprise, resolution. What’s more, they’re central to every kind of story, not just features. Just ask investigative reporter Daniel Zwerdling, who has reported on everything from pesticides to mental health in his 30 plus years at NPR. “You can do the greatest investigation of […]

The power of details

The power of details

One challenge TV reporters face is deciding what details belong in a story. Too many and the story bogs down. Too few and it loses impact. What works in a story is “telling” detail: information that conveys a basic truth about a character or situation. Think about the difference between two stories about the aftermath […]

Edit backward

Edit backward

Words have power and the most powerful word in a sentence should come last.  I could have written: Words have power and the last word should be the most powerful one in a sentence. But that would have put the emphasis on “sentence” when I wanted to stress “last.” See the difference? Sometimes, this kind […]

Tips for VJs on writing fast

Tips for VJs on writing fast

Video journalist Anne Herbst firmly believes in preparation. She does research on stories before leaving the newsroom. She shows up to assignments early so she can meet people and figure out in advance who might be a strong character. And she writes fast–an essential skill when you’re working by yourself and you have to do […]

TV news needs verbs

TV news needs verbs

Some things rarely change. TV news writing is one of them, unfortunately.  More than a decade ago, I noticed something about both network and local newscasts that drove me nuts and wrote a column about it. This morning, I got a message from Rick Tillery, an anchor in Medford, Oregon. “It appears this needs to […]