10 Warning Signs a Story Should Not Run

not teaching, still THINKING … Decisions to publish stories can result in long-lasting consequences, which we always hope are good ones. Sometimes a story is not ready to run, and an editor must hold it. How to decide? Here are 10 warning signs that a story should not run. And, we would add a note […]

We all need a compass for True North

not teaching, still THINKING … For the first time in roughly 20 years, these two profs will not be in the classroom at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School when the fall semester starts. Call it retirement or the start of a new adventure, we won’t be teaching. But we’ll be thinking. What will guide our decisions? […]

Context can enhance even a solid story

BIG numbers. How can journalists convey how big? A good example is found in the work of Manny Fernandez of The New York Times, whose story about Houston after Hurricane Harvey carries the headline: “Over 21 Miles of Highway, Snapshots of a Resilient Houston.” How can we visualize the size of Houston? Fernandez shows us […]

Don’t look at me — it’s on you, now

A relationship with benefits. That’s how we used to define the mutually attractive agreement between reporters and editors. A reporter would tell a source: “I have to ask this question. My editor will want to know.” And an editor was happy to be blamed because, in all likelihood, the question was a legitimate one that […]

5 questions to ask when writing a lead

This might seem elementary for journalism veterans. It might seem outdated for those in newsrooms without editors. But we think it’s an important message: 5 questions to ask when writing a lead. These questions originally were intended for editors to ask reporters. However, they are questions reporters can — and should — ask themselves. What’s the […]

This list of errors is a wake-up call

In our introduction to Strategy 28 in “Think Like an Editor” — Edit for Accuracy — we share examples of the kinds of errors that can get published when accuracy is not top of mind. Even when you’re conscientious and focused, errors could just as easily occur when your correct information gets sabotaged by auto correct. […]