Rivet Blog

Notes from some great sessions at the Excellence in Journalism 2015 convention in Orlando, Fla.

From the great Al Tompkins at the Poynter Institute:

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How to tell a memorable sports story

Sports stories are so easy to write, even robots can do it.

The Associated Press is using automated technology to write thousands of stories about college games. It uses software which takes game data and converts it into a narrative. Toss in a pound of stats, and it’ll crank out a story.


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Time elements

When you publish audio content, it may not be heard for a while. Someone may discover it hours later, or perhaps the next day or week.  This calls for a different approach to time elements.


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If the past few months have been any indication, we’re in for a long, fluffy, gaffe- and poll-filled ramp-up to the 2016 presidential elections. As the former producer and social media manager for Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie podcast for nearly two years and a lifetime avowed news junkie, I’ve successfully slimmed down my Twitter lists

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Put your most interesting words first

Put the most interesting words at the top of your story. It’s the best way to grab your listeners’ attention, and it will help to keep them from drifting away.

So many times I’ll write copy and my coworkers’ll tap me on the shoulder and point out that the most interesting words aren’t at the top of my first paragraph. Think it over, and try different word combinations before settling for one.

Which of the these examples should you use?

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Breaking down hard concepts and explaining them

Tough concepts are all part of being a reporter. Sometimes a subject is going to come your way that you don’t understand completely, but you’re going to need to know how to explain it your listeners.

There are a few ways to tackle hard ideas, and all of them include taking your sweet, sweet time.

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Outlining content

When you voice content, make every effort to not sound like you’re reading. That holds true whether you’re voicing news, conducting an interview or hosting a talk show. Broadcasting can be a very intimate experience; it’s just you and the listener. Because of that, you want to be yourself every time you crack open a microphone.

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