Breaking a big story

How does a 25-year-old reporter get one of the biggest stories of the year? Michael Schmidt has been covering sports for the New York Times for less than two years, but he’s already broken some big stories. Perhaps the biggest: adding three names to the list of 100 baseball players who tested positive for performance-enhancing …

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Five steps to improve a TV newsroom’s online output

Despite the importance of the Web to all news organizations, many of them still treat their online teams like poor relations: Stick them in a corner and feed them scraps. But senior web producer Rich Murphy at WTTG-TV in Washington has worked hard to change the way his newsroom deals with the Web. Step one: …

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More TV jobs for women, fewer for minorities

Women make up more than 40 percent of the workforce in local television news and almost 30 percent of TV news directors. Both are all-time highs, according to the latest RTNDA/Hofstra survey released today. But the number of minorities in broadcast news fell in 2008. People of color made up 21.8 percent of local TV …

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Doing data online

If your goal is to produce a sticky Web site, data is one way to get there. Providing lots of information that people can explore on their own will entice some of them, at least, to spend time on the site. That’s part of the thinking behind the Data Bay at, the Web site …

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What not to do in a standup

Here’s a question I get all the time: What kind of standups and live shots should a reporter include in a resume tape montage? The simple answer is to feature only your very best stuff, with the goal of showing how confident and comfortable you are on camera. So is there anything you should NOT …

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Tips for covering business stories

The hardest thing about business reporting isn’t the what, it’s the why. Journalists need to help their audience see why financial developments matter to them. John Wordock, managing editor for the Marketwatch radio network, says that’s the key task facing any financial journalist. “We have to make it so people want to listen.” Wordock’s answer …

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Reporter, know thy market

At a time when many journalists are struggling to find jobs, anchor Rhori Johnston of WTVF in Nashville says folks who already have positions need to work hard to hold on to them. Speaking to a group of 34 broadcast journalists at the SPJ Reporters Institute, Johnston said it’s more important than ever to come in early, stay …

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Creating a records-driven newsroom

Learn your way around public records and you’ll find more story ideas than you could ever wish for. And that’s not all. Joe Adams of the Florida Times Union says a records search can turn up personal cell phone numbers, internal documents and even home video. But first, you have to know where to look. …

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And that’s the way it was

When Walter Cronkite anchored the CBS Evening News, his trademark sign-off was sometimes criticized as an overstatement. How could he end each broadcast, “And that’s the way it is,” when his 30-minute program only provided a brief glimpse of the day’s events? Cronkite admitted that a network newscast was at best a headline service. As …

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