Tools

Improve writing with these four tips

Four simple ways to improve writing are featured in a blog post from the Texas Center for Community Journalism at Texas Christian University.

While community newspapers don't have pots of money to use for redesigns or new equipment and software... "the good news is that there are somethings you can do to improve writing, no matter what your resources or the expertise of your reporters. Now bear in mind, we would all like to do so much more, but here’s a place to begin, something that any newspaper can do, beginning today," Dr. Tommy Thomason points out.

Ten steps to successful magazine development

Leonard Woolsey, president and publisher of the Galveston County Daily News, shares ten steps to successful magazine development.
1. Identify your niche: No need to be No. 3 in a three-horse race. Bring something new and interesting to the market. If lifestyle is already done with two competitors beating each other up, you might consider looking for an overlooked category. Health, parenting, even dining are easy to access entry points. 

Eight ways to write shorter stories

Do you feel (or your readers) feel as though your stories drag on too long? Do you struggle getting to the point of the story? Story length is a function of focus. When you (or your editor or teacher) has a keen understanding of the what the story is about, it will be easier to revise your work.

Check out the full story and how to take an online coffee break course at Poynter News University.

Assessing your community newspaper

Ideas for assessing the impact of a community newspaper were shared by UT instructor Griff Singer at the recent Texas Press Midwinter Conference and Trade Show.

Singer discussed ways editors and publishers can “audit” their newspapers, looking at the number and kinds of stories published, editing of submitted content, how council and board meetings are covered, the number of photos, how they are displayed and whether people shown are identified. 

Mining census data to better cover the health-gap story: A tip sheet from AHCJ

If you are covering the social determinants of health care, chances are you will need some data on areas such as income and gender that can influence health. One place to find everything from the number of doctors in a particular part of the country to demographic information on veterans is the U.S. Census Bureau. This federal agency culls data not only from the U.S. Census taken every 10 years but also from a host of other more frequent surveys.

26 ways to find information on people: Tips for journalists writing about crime on deadline

So you’re on deadline with breaking news about a crime committed in your community but officials are releasing only basic details: a few facts about the crime and the name and birth date of a person alleged to be involved.

The staff at Journalist’s Resource has compiled a list of steps they have used to track down large amounts of information on deadline. While this list may come in handy when covering crime, the strategies also can be used for gathering information on individuals in many other scenarios.