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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 →

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What’s the difference between journalism and public relations, a reader asks. Good question. Broadly speaking, journalism is about finding the truth. Public relations, on the other hand, is about presenting a person, company, agency or institution in the best light possible. For instance, let’s say your college decides to raise the cost of tuition. The college’s PR department will no doubt issue a press release that will probably talk about the increase being modest but necessary, and how, even with the hike, the school remains affordable. All of that may be perfectly true, but chances are the college’s press release won’t include any quotes fromRead More →

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More and more reporters are being asked to produce digital online videos. And while video editing programs, such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Apple’s Final Cut, can seem intimidating, shooting digital video can, for the beginner, seem deceptively easy. After all, what more is there to do than point your camera or smart phone at what you want to shoot and press the record button? In fact, there are plenty of pitfalls that can occur when shooting a video, so here are some pointers for the novice to keep in mind. Keep the camera steady: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen videosRead More →

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Across the country, some college newspapers are shutting down their printing presses. From the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Post to the Daily Athenaeum at West Virginia University to the paper at Ohio University, student-run publications are reducing the frequency of their printed product or ditching it all together. Editors at these papers offer a variety of reasons. Some say it is a cost-cutting measure. Others say they want to focus exclusively on their digital product and not be distracted by the hassle of producing a printed paper. I think this is a bad idea, and I’ll tell you why. First, a lot of college journalism studentsRead More →

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If you are taking your first journalism class, you’ve probably discovered that newswriting is very different from other kinds of writing. But don’t be intimidated. The newswriting format is very straightforward and you should be able to master it without too much difficulty. Newswriting is based on the idea that readers have limited time and attention spans, which means you want to put the most important information in your story at the very top, or beginning, of the story. Then, as you go from the beginning to the end of your story, the information presented should be of gradually lesser importance. This is known asRead More →