I love what should be the new world of corrections.
Bow to the all-mighty strikethrough text. If someone calls you out on an error, fix it and fix it fast, but keep the mistake in with the cross out, so you don’t hide the mistake.
This shows transparency, a story’s growth and, really, keeps you, the reporter, more motivated to get it right the first time.
Print journalists take seriously the notion that what goes on the page stays on the page, but often hid behind a correction running later, smaller and being ignored. The Web combines the best — we stand by what we publish because we won’t erase a mistake.
I love the use of letting your readers kno when a story is ‘Updated’ and listing those changes at top or the bottom of the story for all your readers to see.
Transparency cannot be lost, and, like attribution, it doesn’t have to be.
Updated 3:17 p.m. April 23, 2009
I was in Baltimore this weekend, which is fitting, considering some of the news that came out of the Charm City last week.
From Wired magazine blog Epicenter:
The Tribune-owned Baltimore Sun issued Jeff Quiton of Inside Charm City a cease-and-desist letter claiming that Quinton has been republishing “substantial portions” of The Sun’s content, and because the infringement was willful, Quinton could face up to $150,000 per violation in addition to lawyers fees.
The Sun took issue with Quiton copying large portions of their stories, though the suit added they don’t have a problem with a headline and a graf being used by bloggers if links are included.
It’s another case of old media taking on new media. And I am completely on the side of old media on this one.
Continue reading Bloggers need to respect old media
Update: 7:40 p.m. on April 23, 2009: The involved officer was suspended with intent to dismiss. That news also came from the Inquirer and Daily News.
Update: 10:12 p.m. on May 6, 2009: Ms. McDonald was the feature of a cover story in the Northeast Times.
The attention has probably subsided enough to write this now.
Shannon McDonald, whom I’ve known for nearly two years, got a round of 15 minutes of fame she didn’t quite want.
On March 31, the Philadelphia Daily News ran a story on the growing ire of a group of the city’s black cops.
The controversy surrounded around a single officer, and, it seems, Shannon started it all.
At least a month before, the 21-year-old senior Temple University journalism student had to write a feature story for a class. So, thinking a cop-ride-along would be a simple, strong and fast assignment for a class she’s eager to finish, Shannon contacted the 22nd Philadelphia police district, which covers her assigned Strawberry Mansion neighborhood.
Then she wrote, as would surprise no one who knows her, a tidy, professional 900-word profile on Bill Thrasher, the officer with whom she rode. That was in February. It was a school assignment.
I spoke to her after the ride along.
“How was it?” I asked.
“OK,” she said, in a way that makes me certain she neither expected nor wanted any attention for the story.
It took a month for her expectations to be proven shortsighted.
Continue reading What was lost in the coverage of a student journalist and a Philadelphia cop
I got a tweet from my buddy and Reading Eagle designer Chris Reber a few weeks ago.
is attribution dead?
That came not long after, Vince Fumo, the embattled Pennsylvania state senator and legendary South Philly politician, was convicted on all 137 counts in his federal corruption trial.
In what was another great stand for an old friend, the Inquirer was all over the Fumo case (not long after another evergreen package on the city’s Please Touch Museum, which won it a national headliner award.
Beyond collecting all the Fumo history and details and using social media, reporter Bob Moran live blogged the March 16 pronouncement of guilt. Fox29 hack Steve Keeley thought the Inqy was doing such a good job that Keeley began reading Moran’s reports live on air, without attributing him or the Inqy.
A minor outrage followed, not the least led by Inqy freelancer Amy Quinn, who tweeted again and again and again on the subject. But what else is there to learn, in an age where some say attribution is falling to the wayside?
Continue reading Attribution is not dead if we don’t let it die
I recently posted on the reasons why I love freelancing. Once you know you want the gig, it also helps to know what you’re willing to do.
There are four big reasons to agree to write a story, and every writer should know them – if only so he can decide if that writing gig, even if it’s on the side, is worth it.
They’re worth recognizing, see them below. Continue reading The four reasons for a freelancer to decide to write a story
I live in Frankford, an old neighborhood in lower Northeast Philadelphia. Community journalism – the important and perhaps least paying element of the craft – is something I cherish and, as I understand it, begins, funny enough, in your own community.
So when I moved here back in November, I was excited to discover and learn and experience a new neighborhood. My interests reached beyond the professional, I wanted to help and learn and develop with Frankford, like I would wherever I lived. So, I reached out to my legislators – State Rep. Tony Payton and Councilwoman Maria Sanchez. I went to the first neighborhood meeting I found and began what I hope will be a monthly habit, sitting in on the Frankford Civic Association meeting earlier this month.
As life will do, I learned plenty doing just that, a lesson I think every journalist, freelance or otherwise, should recognize.
Continue reading Community journalism: What's the job and what's your life
It may seem like another cost, another obstacle to your dream. That’s because it is. Journalism students face the challenge of getting professional experience from newspapers and magazines that often don’t pay. Buying the multimedia equipment that would have to be part of anyone’s journalism tool box does cost money that many young journalists, fresh freelancers or recently-unemployed reporters don’t have.
So, I took three years, much of my own money and at least two gifts to accumulate what equipment I think to be important for a developed, independent multimedia journalist. Yesterday, I was thrilled to be given the last of the below items as my family Christmas gift.
All that said, these are tools, not rules. While I am by no means independently wealthy, much of the world doesn’t have the financial resources with which I am blessed.
So, here’s my triage of multimedia equipment, what you need most.
If even time doesn’t offer an opportunity for you to build on this tool box. Take heart. Nothing on the below list could replace hard work, smarts and persistence…. lots and lots of persistence.
Continue reading The equipment of this freelance multimedia journalist: How I became a better reporter this Christmas
How well do you e-mail?
A few weeks ago I came across a simple, intuitive but worthwhile post on Seth Godin’s blog – an e-mail checklist.
I send lots of e-mails. In searching for a new job, in looking for interviews, in sending pitches for freelance stories.
So, I am immediately incorporating a few of Godin’s points into my style and thought they might help you, too – regardless of profession. I have some thoughts myself.
Continue reading Learn to e-mail better
Perhaps more than any other profession, journalists live in moments, that hour’s story, that day’s deadline.
Zack Stalberg was made a legend for his Frank Rizzo moment. As a 2001 Philadelphia Weekly profile suggested:
Within two years the night rewrite kid is a City Hall reporter covering Frank Rizzo at a time when Rizzo was, as Stalberg recalls, “unstoppable … He was going to be governor and his image was untarnished and then–boom!” Boom, of course, was Stalberg himself, who persuaded the mayor to take a lie detector test to resolve a political dispute. Rizzo, as the whole city knows, failed the test in grand fashion, and Stalberg, as the whole city also knows, became someone who would make a name for himself. [Source]
Continue reading Journalists are victors of the moment
There are those terms: a reporter, a journalist, a correspondent, a newspaperman, and others. What are the differences, and which are you? Find out.
Continue reading A reporter, a journalist and a correspondent walk into a bar