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Teaching Tips

Journalism is a field that is constantly changing, which can make teaching it difficult. Below, you will find tips for the traditional-to-digital transition in journalism, including social media, online journalism and multimedia tools. Educators can also learn about editing, ethics and reporting/writing to share with their students.

We’ll keep this page updated with links to current information that can help you in your classroom.

Digital Journalism
A journalism professor seeks advice on learning and teaching social media
What do teachers need to know about about social media and what should be required of students to help them learn how to use social media effectively?

How to Teach Live-Tweeting to Journalism Students
A guide for teachers to use when thinking about Twitter guidelines for publication staffs.

The Kobré Guide
This website is a compilation of some of the web’s best video and multimedia journalism. Its content shows the emotive power of multimedia stories and will get students thinking about how they can use synthesize different platforms creatively to tell the stories of people in their own community.

Journalism Education Reform Trends, Ideas and Research: Roundup of Recent News, Publications
As educators continue to rethink how to teach journalism in the digital age, we hope this list — representative, but by no means comprehensive — can inform faculty discussion and classroom practice.

Online Information, Credibility and “the Google generation”
Educators note that students sometimes have a hard time distinguishing between commercially influenced sites and peer-reviewed academic journals. They also see many young people whose patience with the search process can quickly run thin.

DePaul’s Mike Reilly on Information Resources, Journalism Education
Reilly is a veteran journalist and educator whose work has focused on bridging the traditional and digital media worlds, as well as curating online resources for deeper research. He is a former reporter for The Los Angeles Times and a founding member of ChicagoTribune.com. He also founded Journalist’s Toolbox.

Digital Access to Knowledge: Research Chat with Harvard’s Peter Suber
Suber is director of the Harvard Open Access Project and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. His new book, Open Access, examines an emerging movement to bring research to everyone who might want to make use of it.

Advanced Internet Research Techniques: Five Key Lessons from Google
There are many search engines to choose from and all have different ways of prioritizing search results. Google is one of the leaders in this area, and provides a variety of tools that can be helpful for instructors teaching students advanced techniques, or just the basics.

Five Ways Journalists Can Use Twitter Better
The article provides tips for journalists to use Twitter to its greatest potential.

Glossary of Common Terms Used in Digital Journalism
To help journalists better understand the technology that’s now essential to their work, the group Hacks/Hackers compiled a crowdsourced “survival glossary” of common and less-common terms.

Research Chat: Discovery News Writer Marianne English
Marianne English is a freelance health and science writer whose articles for Discovery News often focus on academic research.

Editing
EditTeach.org
EditTeach.org offers resources for teachers and students who want to strengthen their editing skills.

Associated Press Style Basics
This article is a summary of AP style. In it you’ll find information on numbers, time and dates, locations, phone numbers, punctuation, capitalization and titles, and the Internet. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it will get you started.

Style Overview
The writing term style refers to a set of rules that help ensure that your stories are as clear, consistent and understandable as possible. There are a number of style guides available for journalists, the two most prominent of which are The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style.

Acronyms
Acronyms are words formed from the initial letters of a multiword term. These can be names of organizations (NATO), nations (USA), and phrases (FAQ). While acronyms are highly efficient, care needs to be taken when using them. The articles lists general guidelines for using acronyms in stories.

Reporting
Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma Tip Sheet
Reporters often talk to people who have been through trauma, and it’s important to have crisis/trauma training beforehand.

George Packer’s 5 Tips for Reporting on Anything
George Packer discusses what he’s learned in his years reporting for The New Yorker.

Journalism Center on Children and Families
Learn journalism ethics and best practices of how to interview families and report on the death of children.

The Rise of Contextual Journalism, 1950s-2000s
In the 1950s stories were largely focused on the ‘who, what, where and when,’ but today articles are increasingly providing the backstory. As a consequence, readers are getting much more than just the facts: They are getting the ‘so what’ and ‘why.’

Six Powerful Examples of Journalism’s Importance: Recent Civic Impacts of the Press
These stories helped root out corruption, create better laws and practices, and changed the way we live for the better.

Informing the news: the need for knowledge based reporting
This essay is developed from the new book Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism, which serves as companion to Journalist’s Resource and represents an articulation of the project’s mission to help the news media transition to a new phase in their 21st-century development.

Interviewing a Source: Rules of the Road, Talking with Officials and Experts
The articles discusses interview basics, including preparation, questions and different types of interviewees.

Research Chat: CUNY’s Barbara Gray
Gray is Distinguished Lecturer and Interim Chief Librarian at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has continually sought the latest and most efficient tools that help reporters push their stories further and find the key sources, details and context that enrich the experience and understanding of the audience.

Database Checklist: Key Academic Research Resources — Both Free and Restricted
A key skill is the ability to locate and review academic studies to strengthen and deepen stories. The Journalist’s Resource studies database distills top research, but there’s a much bigger universe of research out there.

Academic research and studies: How they work and why journalists should care
In a world overflowing with information of uncertain quality, it’s hard to find knowledge that is as unbiased, thoughtful and reliable as that contained in the best academic studies. This is why journalists should be familiar with how to read them. Studies can provide a baseline of solid fact where reporting can begin.

Advanced Internet Research Techniques: Five Key Lessons from Google
There are many search engines to choose from and all have different ways of prioritizing search results. Google is one of the leaders in this area, and provides a variety of tools that can be helpful for instructors teaching students advanced techniques, or just the basics.

Guide to Academic Methods, Critical Thinking and Theory
Though journalists need not understand all of the analytical tools of academics, they can benefit from understanding how critical thinking operates in the research world — and using it to their advantage.

Access to Government Records and FOIA tips: Guide for Citizens and Journalists
This overview is excerpted from the Legal Guide of the Digital Media Law Project, run through Harvard’s Berkman Center. The project offers a wide variety of advice on the legal aspects of reporting.

Scholarly Research Strategy Guide for Journalists
Journalists need to be able to do many kinds of research. This article focuses on creating a research strategy that will help you find academic studies and related scholarly information.

Math for Journalists
This article discusses a few basic concepts to keep in mind when number-crunching for a story, including averages and percentages.

Research Chat: Ron Suskind on investigative reporting, interviewing and documents, from Journalist’s Resource
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Ron Suskind is author of a number of best-selling books that examine the inner workings of the American government.

Online Journalism

The Washington Post lesson plans
Regularly updated lesson plans are specially designed to accompany the newspaper as a classroom tool.

Yahoo Style Guide
The online guide — which is also a book — covers the basics of grammar and punctuation plus a multitude of topics with a Web-specific focus.

Journalism Education Reform Trends, Ideas and Research: Roundup of Recent News, Publications
As educators continue to rethink how to teach journalism in the digital age, we hope this list — representative, but by no means comprehensive — can inform faculty discussion and classroom practice.

Online Information, Credibility and “the Google generation”
Educators note that students sometimes have a hard time distinguishing between commercially influenced sites and peer-reviewed academic journals. They also see many young people whose patience with the search process can quickly run thin.

Understanding Data Journalism
An overview of data journalism resources tools and topics, including where to find open data sets, how to perform data cleanup and data visualization

DePaul’s Mike Reilly on Information Resources, Journalism Education
Reilly is a veteran journalist and educator whose work has focused on bridging the traditional and digital media worlds, as well as curating online resources for deeper research. He is a former reporter for The Los Angeles Times and a founding member of ChicagoTribune.com. He also founded Journalist’s Toolbox.

Digital Access to Knowledge: Research Chat with Harvard’s Peter Suber
Suber is director of the Harvard Open Access Project and a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. His new book, Open Access, examines an emerging movement to bring research to everyone who might want to make use of it.

Advanced Internet Research Techniques: Five Key Lessons from Google
There are many search engines to choose from and all have different ways of prioritizing search results. Google is one of the leaders in this area, and provides a variety of tools that can be helpful for instructors teaching students advanced techniques, or just the basics.

Writing
Attribution Tips
Steve Buttry, Digital Transformation Editor for Digital First Media explains the importance of attribution in journalism.

Teaching Journalism in the 21st Century: A Conversation with William Zinsser
Journalist and writing teacher William Zinsser discusses the basics of good writing for any medium.

Tip Sheets: Writing / Editing (1995-2010)
Poynter’s archive of writing and editing information from 1995-2010.

William Zinsser’s 5 tips for becoming a better writer
The auther of “On Writing Well” shares five tips for journalists who want to grow as writers.

The Rise of Contextual Journalism, 1950s-2000s
In the 1950s stories were largely focused on the ‘who, what, where and when,’ but today articles are increasingly providing the backstory. As a consequence, readers are getting much more than just the facts: They are getting the ‘so what’ and ‘why.’

How to Write an Op-Ed or Column
The term “op-ed” is used to represent a column that represents the strong, informed and focused opinion of the writer on an issue of relevance to a targeted audience. This essay discusses the criteria of a strong opinion piece, including topic and theme, research, structure and voice.

Basic Principles of Writing a Story Lead
A lead (also known as a lede) is the first paragraph or several paragraphs of a story, be it a blog entry or a long article. Its mission is to catch readers’ attention and draw them in. Getting them truly involved is the duty of the rest of the story; getting them to that point is the job of the lead.

Breaking-News Leads
The job of a breaking-news lead is to accurately relate the essence and urgency of a story in the most efficient way possible. The art of a breaking-news lead is to do so in a way that’s not just readable, but also natural and memorable

 

If you have any teaching tips to add to this list please email them to [email protected].

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