Passive voice redeemed

Here’s something I love about the Internet: the way it forces you to reconsider what you think you already know. Take the passive voice, for example. For years, I’ve urged journalists to avoid it in almost every circumstance. Writing in the passive means putting the object before the verb and sometimes leaving the subject out …

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Ethics in translation

How do you use sound bites from an interview with someone whose native language is not English? The standard approach is to have their answers translated and use a voiceover for the bite you decide to include. That sounds simple enough, but it can get complicated, as Rich Beckman points out in NPPA’s News Photographer …

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Stop yelling at me

Job applicants, be forewarned.  TV news directors don’t want you to shout.  They don’t want sing-song delivery, nasality or sloppy articulation, either, according to a 2005 survey by Ann Utterback.  But they hear a lot of it.  Former news director Dave Cupp, who now teaches at the University of North Carolina, writes in the journal …

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Video veracity

We often talk about the opportunity multimedia reporting provides to tell more of a story – the Web, for example, is a perfect medium for providing audiences access to source documents, links to more information, etc. Now, KCNC-TV in Denver has found a way to use the Web to be more transparent in its reporting, …

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Integrated newsroom pays off

The New York Times has finally entered the 21st century at its new headquarters at 620 Eighth Avenue. Instead of being housed in separate buildings five blocks apart, the print and online newsrooms are now integrated. Web producers sit right next to the print news desk. As a result, says deputy managing editor Jon Landman, …

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User generated video losing its appeal?

Online video sites are scaling back their use of amateur videos in favor of professionally produced programming, according to a report in Business Week. “People would rather watch content that has production value than watch their neighbors in the garage,” says Matt Sanchez, co-founder and chief executive of VideoEgg. One major reason for the switch …

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Unlearn what you know

Three misconceptions about the audience are leading journalists to produce vapid journalism for the Web, says Robert Niles in the Online Journalism Review. Do you think today’s audience suffers from too-short attention spans, can’t handle details and hates numbers? Wrong, wrong, wrong, says Niles. Attention spans are not the issue. Competition for time is. People …

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Journalistic suicide

A cable news anchor in New York has lost his job for making a crank call to one of the station’s talk shows. A Washington Post reporter has been disciplined for sending an angry email. Both journalists expressed their personal opinions in ways they clearly should not have. According to the New York Daily News, …

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