News and Views

In the coming days, journalists will have to provide clear-eyed context to help the nation come to terms with the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Without question this incident will once again spark heated debates over gun-control and school safety.

Let’s step back to see what we need to know to cover those stories.

Read more from the Poynter Institute's Al Tompkins here.

A Case for Science Reporting

Nov 9, 2012

A few years ago, when I was still a public radio journalist, I got into a friendly debate with a trainer at a news production workshop.  The trainer—I’ll call him Frank—said our job was to tell interesting stories.

I saw it a little differently, believing our mission was to tell important stories and make them interesting. This was more than a matter of semantics. For me, the overriding criterion for a story should be its importance; and if it’s important, there must be something inherently interesting about it. Besides, if we searched exclusively for stories that are obviously interesting, we might ignore something more worthwhile.

10 Ideas for Covering The Big Event

Oct 24, 2012

WUSF News Director Scott Finn and WFAE News Director Greg Collard reflect on their coverage of the national conventions:  

"This is the best thing we've ever done."

That was the judgment not of a GM or PD. This came from a hard-bitten engineer who's been working at the station since the Nixon Administration...and does not usually hand out compliments.

He's talking about our coverage of the national convention.

At WUSF in Tampa and WFAE in Charlotte, we knew we’d have to really up our game during these conventions. WUSF temporarily tripled the size of its newsroom, from 9 to 27. It added a daily hour-long talk show in the morning AND a half-hour magazine show called "The Convention Today" at night.

Reprinted from the Nieman Journalism Lab and courtesy of Andrew Phelps

NPR has become a poster child for legacy news organizations’ ability to reinvent themselves for the digital age: Its website and mobile apps are used by millions of people, NPR Music is a runaway hit, office hack days are a model for other newsrooms, and the network’s news apps team is attracting top talent.

And then there are individual NPR stations, so many of which have no reputation for innovation. As consumers find more ways to get NPR in their ears, they have fewer reasons to tune in to their local broadcaster.

Study: Community Differences in News Consumption

Sep 26, 2012

From large urban areas to rural communities, Americans often report similarly high levels of interest in news.  Still, a national survey shows that community differences emerge in the number and variety of local news sources people use in different types of communities, as well as their degree of “local news participation” through social media and their mobile news consumption.

Reaping The Benefits Of The Digital Era

Sep 25, 2012

With Public Post Vermont Public Radio takes advantage of electronic records to conduct more independent fact-finding for the benefit of Vermont.

In aggregating government documents in a searchable online database, our newsroom has rethought the way we cover Vermont’s communities.  Since we launched last year, we’ve already reaped the benefits of the digital era. For example, we found an item about license plate readers sparking privacy concerns in Hardwick’s minutes, which became a story in a VPR newscast and then was carried by NPR.

Read more about VPR's Public Post here.

Attracting Eyeballs Online Requires Smarter Strategy

Sep 24, 2012

Every public radio reporter wants to have their stories heard by as many people as possible. That desire holds true for our online work, too. And, of course, for online, it's also about being seen. Having an online strategy to help that happen is making a big difference at KPLU. Part of our strategy involves a concise list that our Online Managing Editor came up with entitled "Questions to consider when posting online."

ProPublica Launches New Tool to Investigate Nursing Homes

Aug 17, 2012

In February 2011, a nursing home resident in Michigan wandered away in a blizzard, unnoticed by staff. He was wearing only pajama pants, a sweater, canvas shoes and a knit cap. A technician driving to work found him half an hour later at a busy intersection, wet and covered with snow, government inspectors wrote.

Further Decline in Credibility Ratings for Most News Organizations

Aug 17, 2012

For the second time in a decade, the believability ratings for major news organizations have suffered broad-based declines. In the new survey, positive believability ratings have fallen significantly for nine of 13 news organizations tested. This follows a similar downturn in positive believability ratings that occurred between 2002 and 2004. 

Should You Ask a Source if They Are Gay? Reporters Disagree...

Aug 17, 2012

The Boy Scouts of America recently reaffirmed their ban on allowing openly gay boys to participate in Boy Scouts, and openly gay or lesbian adults from being leaders. (Full disclosure – I was a Boy Scout for many years during my teens, but that was decades before anyone was debating this issue.) We live in an odd world where what side of the “homosexual agenda” you are on can now be demonstrated not only by your participation in scouts, but also where you buy your chicken sandwich.

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