Investigative reporting needs improvement on TV news

Even those in charge of local TV newscasts say that their record on investigative reporting is pretty weak. A TVNewsCheck survey found that just a small percentage of news directors feel local TV news does a good or better job of digging deep to uncover investigative stories. …an overwhelming majority (81.5%) feel that they do …

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How to deal with confidential sources

How far will you go to protect the identity of sources who give you information on the condition that you not reveal their names? If you haven’t thought about it, you should. Every reporter eventually runs into a story so important that it’s worth getting the information on a confidential basis. But you’d better understand …

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Tools to do investigative journalism

Investigative journalism is the stuff that awards and big-time careers are made of — and it’s a passion for journalist Lynn Walsh.  Walsh is an investigative producer at WPTV in West Palm Beach, Fla. “I really like being able to provide people with answers that they don’t have the time or the patience to uncover themselves,” …

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Getting results from a public records request

Public records are not only a treasure trove of story ideas, but also they offer reporters a way to make a routine story stand out.  Records can provide the context and perspective the audience needs to fully understand the importance or impact of a story. Michael Morisy works for, a web service that helps …

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Five steps to better TV stories

“It’s not about the beer,” says Boyd Huppert, describing an assignment to profile a successful local brewery. Instead, Huppert’s story focused on the family behind the business — tapping into a universal theme. “My goal is to go out and cover a story to make someone care about it,” says Huppert, “make you laugh or …

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Crime reporting tips

For many journalists, covering crime is their least favorite part of being on general assignment. The late shift at many stations is a steady diet of crime scenes and victims. Lots of newsrooms send their greenest reporters out on crime stories, perhaps figuring they’re easy to cover with cops providing “the facts” and with “good …

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Read the whole report

Sometimes the best advice is the simplest. At a recent conference of public radio news directors, NPR investigative reporter Daniel Zwerdling put it simply. “Read the whole report,” he said, quoting the legendary journalist I. F. (Izzy) Stone. The executive summary doesn’t cut it. Reading just the introduction and conclusion isn’t much better. “Read the …

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Are beats the answer to better local TV news?

Jerry Gumbert, CEO of AR&D, a local media strategy firm, says the No. 1 reason why TV news is flagging “has been a failure of news management to sustain focus on a formal beat system.” News leaders have to realign priorities and reinstitute beat systems — and the kind of enterprise reporting that comes with …

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Local officials versus the news media

The mayor of Seattle is telling local TV stations to back off. In Georgia, the governor’s office went so far as to ban an Atlanta station from a public event. What’s going on here? Elected officials often don’t like the way they’re covered but they usually put up with it. After all, they’re on the …

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Using Facebook for a TV investigation

Want more proof that social media are great reporting tools? Look no farther than “Keys to the Castle” an investigative story Jace Larson reported for KUSA in Denver that picked up a 2011 duPont-Columbia Award. The story uncovered a housing scam that victimized people facing foreclosure as well as people looking to rent. As the …

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