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#Tip: Guidelines for interviewing victims of sexual and gender-based violence

June 3rd, 2014 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Sexual and gender-based violence has been getting a lot of press recently, for good reason.

The abhorrent crimes against women and girls committed by men in southern California and northern India have brought the topic to the fore but, according to a 2013 study from the World Health Organisation, one in three women worldwide will experience sexual or gender-based violence at some point in their lives. These are extreme cases of a widespread problem.

While reporting these crimes and addressing the socio-cultural background that can motivate the perpetrators is a vital role of the media, telling the story of the victims, both male and female, is just as important.

The recent #YesAllWomen hashtag has let many women tell their own stories. But when a victim of sexual or gender-based violence agrees to an interview, there are additional considerations a journalist must take into account – to respect the victim’s rights and aid their recovery.

Last year, the human rights non-profit Witness published guidelines for interviewing survivors of such crimes, including tips on approaching the interview, conducting the interview, and professional behaviour after the interview. They are well worth remembering.

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#Tip: Get more than just words from your interviews

May 20th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Despite the rise of big data as a source for stories, people are still at the centre of the stories that journalists write.

Interview technique is a skill to develop like any another, and according to Marvin Olasky, author and editor-in-chief of WORLD News Group, “the goal of an interview is not primarily to elicit words”.

In this article from WorldMag.com, Olasky goes into detail on the various types, stages and outcomes of an interview and how best to deal with each.

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#Tip: 7 data visualisation tips for beginners

May 6th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
By Jorge Fran Ganillo on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

By Jorge Fran Ganillo on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

The rise in the use of data in journalism has brought with it a need to be able to accurately portray that data in a way that is easy for readers to understand.

This can sometimes be a hurdle for small newsrooms or independent journalists who do not have a background in digital design but Ann K Emery an evaluation, data and visualisation consultant at Innovation Network has put together a useful list of tips for beginners in the field.

This post on her blog about the data visualisation design has advice on the process from beginning to end and is worth having a look at even if it is just to better understand the process a newsroom designer may go through.

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#Tip: Remember these 10 tips on mobile journalism

April 25th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Professionals at the crossroads of the journalism and technology have been leading the field in terms of taking the tools for reporting and publication on the road.

A recent post on the American Journalism Review offers ten tips from a panel at the 2014 Journalism Interactive conference on mobile journalism.

The tips are intended for best way to teach journalism students about the necessary skills and tools but include some good ideas and habits for getting used learning the skills, making it a habit of the working day and best practice for using it in the field.

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#Tip: 10 words to cull from your copy

April 24th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Tight writing is one of the cornerstones of good journalism, especially in news – an article should relay the necessary information in the clearest, most concise manner. It helps if you can be entertaining where appropriate but the same tenets should hold true.

Canada’s The Globe and Mail recently published a post on words that professional writers should look to avoid, words that act as filler rather than contributing to the meaning of a sentence or weaken the copy were a stronger word would lift it.

For more writing tips check out this Journalism.co.uk guide on tools and resources to improve your writing.

 

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#Tip: Advice on how to manage interactive journalism projects

April 23rd, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
By Melissa Marques on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

By Melissa Marques on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Describing hieroglyphics or cave paintings as the first infographics may be stretching the terminology to abstraction, but a visual representation of ideas and stories is endemic to human culture.

A more accurate starting point for the modern, journalistic form is the so-called “graphics guru” Edward Tufte, professor emeritus of political science, statistics and computer science at Yale, but even then the internet has given rise to new, interactive forms of visual storytelling that continually stretch technological bounds. This collection of interactives commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of JFK gives an idea of the variety so far conceived.

Best practice for building and managing these types of stories at news outlets is a constant source of debate, so at the International Journalist’s Network Jessica Weiss has put together tips on how best to manage such projects.

Communication, reflection and lean startup principles are among the key points and are worth remembering for innovative projects no matter how big the newsroom.

 

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#Tip: Remember these science writing tips for getting more from a study

April 4th, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
Image by Horia Varlan on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Image by Horia Varlan on Flickr. Some rights reserved

Science stories always have the power to fire the imagination of the reader so it is important to be able to relay new discoveries or important announcements well.

Unfortunately, as Ian Sample says in this Guardian guide to science writing, most stories are based on published papers, not all of which are interesting, important or even accurate.

He’s put together ten tips on writing good science pieces as the first in a series on the subject that is well worth following for aspiring science writers out there.

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#Tip: Advice for making FOI requests in the UK and US

April 3rd, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

Freedom of Information laws are a game changer for journalists anywhere, opening up the inner workings of government for inspection and now 90 countries have some form of FOI legislation. Sweden set the ball rolling in 1766, the US ‘sunshine’ laws have been in place since 1967 but it took the UK until 2000 to catch up.

As part of Sunshine Week, an annual US event to celebrate and promote open information, IRE and NICAR put together this Soundcloud playlist of “tips, tricks and techniques” for FOIA requests in the US covering resources, tactics, workflows and appeals to help fellow journalists.

Sources for advice in the UK are a bit more disparate, but the FOI Directory has a good list of tips based on personal experience; the government has its own guide to the process; WhatDoTheyKnow.com offers advice alongside pending and answered requests and here at Journalism.co.uk we spoke to journalists in the know for this feature.

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#Tip: How to build sources when you’re starting out

April 2nd, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists

All the web-scraping, Twitter-searching, FOI-requesting tools in the world will never be able to fully replace a reliable human source as an asset to a story.

A reliable network of contacts and sources is vital to any journalist, and can take years to develop, but where do you start?

Last year WorkInSports.com spoke to ESPN anchor Anish Shroff about how to build sources in sports journalism, but the tips and advice shared are just as relevant to any field.

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#Tip: Remember these guides to online content length

April 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted by in Top tips for journalists
Image by Thinkstock

Image by Thinkstock

In print, the parameters for article length, headlines, picture arrangement and more have been handed down over generations, tried and tested over centuries to determine what best draws readers’ attention through an article.

Reading gravity is central to article lay-out and space limitations dictate how long articles should be, how they fit around images, and where they appear on the page. On the web, all of that goes out the window.

Or does it?

A recent blog post from Buffer collects results from multiple studies on the “ideal length” of Facebook and Google+ posts, tweets, headlines, blogs, paragraph width, email subject lines and other online publishing platforms, based on the level of engagement they received.

Screenshot from Buffer

Screenshot from Buffer

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