Online stories April 4-April 7; Print, April 6

Best things:

We’re doing great work with active verbs on sports stories. We need to be making that same effort on news stories. Trim unnecessary words and get to the active verb. Instead of “voiced his agreement.” Just “agreed.”

Love the pairing of Victoria and Anthony on the cop crime story.

 

Wonderful column by Alex on the Opinion page. Made a great centerpiece.

 

Really great work by the photogs this week! Gabby scored the centerpiece in print by being willing to go back out and try again. And she was open to finding a great image.

 

Narda stepped in on a major beat this week with Student Congress. Big help!

 

Kenney took a really colorful approach to the International Week food story by breaking it down by country. Yum!

 

Needs Work:

 

Stop repeating words. Find another word. Write around it. Restructure the sentence. This is happening in all sections.

 

We’re dropping words again. Read back through your stories or read them out loud. And let’s catch the ones that get through on the edit.

 

Stories need to be fully fleshed out. The three-source rule doesn’t always do that. Dig a little below the surface.

 

When all possible, let’s attribute to people, not web sites. Just re-confirm the web site info with actual people you’re already interviewing. Web sites don’t take the place of human sources. We use them only when we have to.

 

Bigger issues:

 

Are you reading your own stories when they publish? How can you post your own stories on social media if you don’t read them online?

Read them. Tweet or FB a link. If you, your mother and Mara do this (maybe another staffer re-Tweets or FB shares it) it grows. Then it drives traffic to the site. We all benefit.

 

Reporting beyond the obvious: Identify trends, look around, Ask: What’s up with that?

 

Follow-up: If you’re not able to do a story or it’s not a good fit for your section, don’t let it fade into obscurity. Pass the story baton to another section. A Life story on a UTA professor hit by a car wasn’t up the alley of the News section, but it’s just the type of story the Life section looks for.

 

The better the organization, the better the stories. Reporters—write your budget lines and get them on the budget. Your editors can’t plan for what they don’t know. And without a sense of your story, we can’t know what art, graphics, photo or layout it needs.

 

Editors: do yourselves a favor and make a smooth transition from night to day and back again. Take notes for one another at meetings, update planning budgets, help one another out and communicate. Less frustration is good for everyone.

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