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Archive for November 15th, 2011

I’ll be leading a daylong workshop today for the CBC music staff on writing for the Web. Some topics we’ll cover:

Here are my slides for the workshop:

We’ll start with this song that brings music and journalism together:

I used the Detroit Free Press’ outstanding Respect package as an illustration of pulling multiple digital storytelling techniques together.

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Reporters and editors everywhere battle and complain over length of stories. Even online, where newspaper space or tight broadcast schedules aren’t an issue, you need to write tightly to hold the reader’s attention and keep the story moving. You need to hone your ability to organize information and write tight stories that make every word count.

Plan to write tight

Coordinate with your editor. Discuss story ideas in some detail with your editor before you start gathering information. Make sure you agree on the probable scope of the story. This can save time wasted gathering information you don’t need. As you are gathering information and writing the story, you will need at some point to agree on a probable length if you are writing for print. If you delay this discussion too long, you may waste more time and effort and invite more frustration.

Consider the reader. A failing of some long stories is that they are written for sources, rather than for readers. Consider why you are including information in a story. To impress sources with your knowledge? To keep a source happy? Or to inform the reader? A tougher challenge is to decide whether you are writing for the reader with strong interest in the issue or for the reader with average interest. For most stories, you should write primarily for the average reader who would read the story. (more…)

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If you’re starting a blog, keep these eight points in mind:

  1. Understand your community. No blog appeals to everyone. Identify the community for your blog and keep those people in mind when you gather content and develop new posts. (I deliberately used the word community rather than audience because the best blogs invite participation, rather than just reading and watching.)
  2. Think in terms of blog posts, not other types of writing. A news story or a newspaper column could be a blog post, but you don’t need to be limited by such formats. A blog post can be (and often should be) short. An interesting link that you wanted to share can be a blog post. Anything that might interest your community is a potential blog post. (more…)

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I will be leading a webinar on using Twitter for research for Newspapers Canada.

The tips I will present in the workshop are covered in my earlier blog posts, Updated and expanded Twitter tips for journalists and Advanced Twitter techniques for journalists. Here are my slides for the workshop:

 

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