From our BASIC JOURNALISM section

What it takes to be a journalist

Our journalism should be factual, accurate, and easy to understand, and we must be committed to finding original stories and telling them in a way that makes sense to the audience.

For journalists, clarity is as important as accuracy

These are a few thoughts (some of them adapted from The Economist’s style guide and those of other respected newspapers) for journalists writing and editing copy in English.

Language and style – the basics

This training module from The News Manual looks at language and style in news writing. It offers guidance on how to write sentences for maximum understanding, and examines why care over language is important. 

Referencing, attribution and plagiarism

Journalism often involves referring to material produced by others. This module looks at how journalists should provide attribution and avoid plagiarism.

How to interview politicians

There is a fine art to interviewing politicians. You need to understand their motivation, realise they will have a script, not allow them to complicate matters, refuse to be sidetracked, and retain an open mind.

Word power

Words and phrases are the nuts and bolts which hold the communications bridge together. The writer must, therefore, learn to recognise the exact words and phrases they needs to convey their meaning to the reader.

From our EDITORIAL ETHICS section

Unconscious bias and its impact on journalism

Journalists must not allow their own personal or political views to influence their pursuit of the truth. They need to remain objective and impartial, while also being aware of the dangers that unconscious biases can cause.

Integrity and journalism

Without integrity your journalism is untrustworthy and suspect. Integrity is essential if a journalist wants to investigate issues, shine a light in dark places, and to dig where others don't.

Offence and journalism

Journalists must ensure that the material they use in coverage has a clear editorial purpose. Where that material is likely to offend, there need to be clear warnings of what is coming up.

Respecting privacy as a journalist

Journalists face a difficult balancing act. They must respect privacy, but they must also be rigorous and robust in their investigation into issues that are in the public interest.

Accuracy in journalism

A media organisation will be judged on the accuracy and reliability of its journalism, which must be well-sourced, supported by strong evidence, examined and tested, clear and unambiguous. Verified facts must form the basis of all news, not rumour or speculation.

Why editorial ethics are important

The Media Helping Media ethics section is designed to help journalists understand and navigate some of the challenges they are likely to face as they go about their work.

From our ADVANCED JOURNALISM section

Updating an online news item

The site was asked by the editor of a newspaper in Zimbabwe to set out how an interactive news story should develop online and what elements should be added and when.

How to set online news priorities

Tips on how to run a news website which is part of a converged news operation involving broadcast and/or print in order to fully exploit existing resources and add in-depth interactive elements.

Editorial independence during election coverage

Journalists, broadcasters and publishers have a responsibility towards the society as a whole. That means that journalists operate on the edges of the market and democracy.

How to spot errors in your writing

Most journalists need a second pair of eyes to check their copy in order to spot any factual, grammatical or spelling mistakes. This is because it's often difficult to see your own errors.

How to avoid make-believe journalism

Our role as journalists is to unearth information, prepare it and then display it for the benefit of the audience. We are not there to fabricate, manipulate or force.

How to set online news priorities

Increasingly, news websites are the product of a converged newsroom operating as a content factory and delivering information to whatever device the user turns to in order to access information.

Media Helping Media Facebook Page

journalism training in Serbia. Image by David Brewer shared via Creative CommonsMedia Helping Media offers free training resources covering basic, advanced and investigative journalism, editorial ethics, media management and strategy, and staff training. We also have scenarios to test journalistic instincts. The site is supported by Fojo Media Institute.
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The mindset for investigative journalism

The investigative mindset is responsible for solving more information mysteries than probably any other factor. If you haven’t started writing down your best strategies now might be the time to start.

How to investigate official documents

The investigative journalist never takes things at face value. They probe and question in order to get to the truth. If you are to uncover the story you need to keep asking questions.

20 ways a suspect can help a journalist

Sources are one of the most valuable resources for a journalist. Without sourced information, the reports produced may end up being padded with rumour and personal opinion.

Getting the best out of a news meeting

Most newsrooms hold regular news meetings where the editor sets out what news stories are going to be covered and invites the news team to offer ideas about how the news should be developed and covered.

Social media in news production and news dissemination

Social media is an increasingly disruptive force on the media landscape. It challenges traditional, mainstream media to reconsider how they operate.

Creating a journalism content weighting system

Introducing a story weighting system helps prioritises effort on the stories that are of most value to the target audience, it saves time, speeds up production, and helps avoid wasted effort.

Developing the potential of your staff

Media training is about investing in people - your staff. They are your most precious resource. Without well-trained and motivated staff, you will struggle to deliver the right quality of content to your audience.

Setting up a media business – four essential steps

A media business is like a table with four legs. These are the media organisation's target audience, the core editorial proposition that it offers to that audience, the values that the business holds dear, and the market that sustains the business. Each leg has to be strong and firm. If one leg is weak, the table wobbles. A shaky media organisation is not good.

Adapting to changing audience behaviour

The challenge of keeping up with changing audience behaviour and ensuring that the content that is produced is available on all the devices the audience uses to access information.

Journalistic ethics – scenario

Try our journalistic ethics scenario and see what you would do if an earlier laps in editorial led to you feeling unable to cover a news story because of external pressures.

Public interest – scenario

This scenario looks at some of the issues that need to be considered when deciding whether a story is in the public interest.

Emotional pressure – scenario

How should a reporter respond when someone uses emotional pressure and threats to try to stop them doing their job? In this scenario we look at a situation where a reporter is begged not to cover a story, and then threatened with violence if they publish. What would you do?

Maximising the impact of media training

Thorough research is the essential if you are to deliver high-impact media training. Never accept a brief from media managers without question - they could be wrong and often are.

12 tips for international media trainers

Those invited to help the media overseas need to ensure that the training they offer is continually refreshed so that it's up-to-date and sensitive to local issues and better addresses local needs.

Adopting the right attitude for media training

A trainer must not shout at participants or get into loud arguments. They must not make those attending their courses feel small or humiliate them. Some fairly strong points made by participants.