Getting the data

License to CarryEven when you know what you’re looking for, it’s often difficult to get access to the data you need. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel had to threaten a lawsuit to get a complete list of concealed weapons permits issued by the state. When they finally got it and compared it to the state’s list of convicted felons, they had an eye-opening story. Take a look, and think about how you could have made the online presentation of this story more interactive. Thanks to the IRE Journal for highlighting this series.


Find the action

Reporters who want to follow the action in a story need to know where to find it. You can’t tell a captivating, narrative story if you’re not present to capture the action. But how do you know when it’s going to happen? Reporter Lane DeGreory of the St. Petersburg Times writes in the IRE Journal that she asks seven questions:

  1. Can I go along for a ride or take a walk or be at a meeting, a trial or a funeral?
  2. Is something going to happen?
  3. Is the place important, the action important, or is the person important? Continue reading

Conflict of interest

Should you ever get romantically involved with a source? The answer is clearly no. Los Angeles anchor Mirthala Salinas has been suspended without pay for two months for covering the city’s mayor while they were having an affair. The news director at the Telemundo station also was suspended. He knew about the relationship, but let Salinas report on the mayor anyway. Continue reading

This is the future

If you’re going to succeed in journalism today you need to know how to tell stories visually. Don’t just take our word for it. Listen to working journalists like Jennifer Lin, a staff writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer.