cropped-hand-on-keyboard-1242207-1.jpg

It’s early in the semester and students at the college where I teach journalism have just turned in their first articles for the student newspaper. Most of them are really good, but as always there are a few common mistakes that students make early on. Here are some of the problems I see most frequently: Long leads and long paragraphs – Remember, news stories should use a one-sentence lead. And paragraphs in news stories should generally be just 1 to 2 sentences each. I can always tell when someone has written their first news story, because it’s invariably full of giant paragraphs that look likeRead More →

watching-da-screen-1252142

It’s a time-honored progression: you start writing for your college newspaper and before you know it you’re recruited to be an editor. Suddenly, badly written articles are being thrown at you left and right and you don’t have a clue about what to do. This isn’t unusual. At many college newspapers, editing skills are picked up on the fly. With that in mind, here’s a list of eight things for new editors to watch out for. Buried leads – it’s not uncommon for beginning journalism students to do what’s called burying the lead. That means they put the most important information in a news storyRead More →

history-1314775

Associated Press style is the standard format used by the vast majority of print and online news outlets in the U.S. No one expects you to memorize the AP Stylebook, but you should start checking it when you you write your stories. Over time, you’ll start to memorize the most commonly used AP style points. Here is a cheat sheet that covers some of those points. Numbers one to nine are generally spelled out 10 and above are generally numerals but there are exceptions… Units of measurement and dimensions are always written as numerals: That board is 32 inches long. Percentages are always numerals: InflationRead More →