Basic Reporting Tips

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27 juin 2008 dans Journalism Basics

1) Be honest

2) Always ask yourself why someone is telling you something. Evaluating your source can be the most important judgment you have to make on a story.

3) Except for the simplest questions, make a habit of asking twice.

4) If your subject is excited or afraid, ask not just twice, but four or five times.

5) If you are excited or afraid, keep taking notes as fast as you can. Then, trust only your notes, not your memory.

6) You can learn something useful from almost everyone.

7) With very few exceptions, people want to tell you what they know or think.

8) People are the best authority on their own lives.

9) To the extent possible, scope out the situation for yourself. Do this even when you think there won't be anything to see.

10) The secret of a good interview is to find something your subject wants to talk about, and letting him/her talk.

11) Even if you use a tape recorder, take notes.

12) When a story concerns war, a natural disaster, riot or any similar event, first reports will rarely be accurate.

13) In any disaster or violent event, casualty reports should be regarded as short fiction. The higher the numbers and the sooner they are reported, the higher the likelihood that they will be inaccurate.

14) Be very cautious in describing people's motives.

15) If you are writing something critical or expressing a point of view, state the opposing case as strongly and persuasively as you can.

16) Always imagine you are writing for someone who disagrees with you, or who will not want to believe that what you write is the truth. Your job is to make that person believe you have accurately and fairly stated the facts.