Saturday, October 30, 2010

Colin Cromwell on reporting

Colin Cromwell writes on "What did I learn at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism."


WordCount Blog: Freelancing in the digital age

Michelle V. Rafter's blog, WordCount.

Good writing, useful tips on digital freelancing.


online writing markets (e-book)

Online Writing Markets.

An e-book by Boston freelancer and writer for Urban Muse, Susan Johnson.


Ledes - Use memorable quotes as your ledes

Memorable quotes make great ledes.

When researching a piece of writing, there's always one quote that sticks in your mind. It often summarizes the story, or provides a provocative insight.

"Helping people is hard. You do your best. Then you let go."
(A Tibetan monk speaking on compassion and the responsibility to relieve suffering.)

Use the memorable quote as the lede to your article, chapter, or blog post.

Nut graf tells the direction of the story

From Michelle Rafter's blog:

...A story without a nut graph is like a walk in the woods without a path: you know you’re going someplace, you’re just not sure where.

The nut graph supplies that direction. It tells readers, ‘This is what this story is about, this is why you should care, this is why you should keep reading.’

LIRQS -- a loose formula for writing a news article

Colin Cromwell explains LIRQS

"LIROS or lede, impact, react, quote, scene. Legend has it that Lawrence Van Gelder, a former reporter/editor at the New York Times developed this form of article writing. Up late at night at the Times office, Van Gelder scrutinized the papers’ best articles to see what they all had in common. The result, LIRQS – a loose formula for writing a news article."

How to record phone conversations on Skype

Colin Cromwell explains:

From Colin Cromwell's blog:

"New media publishing requires being able to plan, source, edit and upload with speed. Yadda yadda. If you’re new at this or like me, you’ll often have this awesome photo slideshow only to lament your lame audio actuals. While, it’s not ideal, you can bolster your slideshow or even your video by calling your source on Skype. You can record the conversation with software like, Audio Hijack and then mix the new actuals over the images.

To make this work, you should be sure that you always record ambient sound while reporting and be familiar with something like Audacity or other sound editing software.

Here’s the how to record phone conversations on Skype:

  1. First, plan story.
  2. Then go take photos.
  3. Be sure to record ambient when you get there, as you won’t get this chance again. Record ambient sound from where ever you get your actuals from.
  4. Get as many actuals as your storyboard requires.
  5. Go home and edit. Realize you’re missing material. Doh.
  6. Open Audio Hijacks. Then open Skype. (Only this order works. You’ll be prompted to quit Skype if you reverse order.) Ready? Test. Then call sources and explain. I’m fully honest that I’m laying this new audio over the “older” slideshow. I even ask that they imagine that they are back at the scene. If this is unethical, let me know.
  7. Once you’ve got your material. Edit it. Use Audacity’s noise removal feature to help get rid of the phone tone.
  8. Lay your actuals over the ambient sound you recorded. Tweak accordingly.
  9. Once you’ve got your clips. Export as .WAV and insert into slideshow. Voila."