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How to get start as an. INDEPENDENT JOURNALIST. February 28, 2013 By: Karen Spring HSCI 825 Advocacy and Communication Simon Fraser University. Presentation Outline . ✜ Why be a journalist? ✜ Who can you write for? ✜ Six steps to writing a journalistic piece:

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How to get start as an

INDEPENDENT

JOURNALIST

February 28, 2013

By: Karen Spring

HSCI 825 Advocacy and Communication

Simon Fraser University


Presentation Outline

✜ Why be a journalist?

✜ Who can you write for?

✜ Six steps to writing a journalistic piece:

Step 1: Planning a story

Step 2: Research

Step 3: Making contact

Step 4: The interview

Step 5: Writing the story

Step 6: Don’t get sued

** Tips along the way **


Why would you start writing as a journalist?

  • ✜ Advocacy strategy

  • ✜ A way to get your work, experiences and viewpoints out there

  • ✜ A way to translate your research to the public

  • ✜ A great skill set


For Who?

Independent Media – “pitching” details on websites

Journalism skills is useful for many things:

Blogs

Pamphlets

Newsletters

Agency websites

Government

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs)


Step 1: Planning a story

✜ Finding a story:

  • Is it timely?

  • Impactful?

  • Relevant?

  • Angle (community, local, national, etc) relevant to publisher?

  • What’s the major tension?

    ✜ Mapping the story


Step 2: Research

✜ Internet

✜ Government & corporate websites

✜ Advocacy groups

✜ Health related organization

- WHO, PHAC, CDC, etc.

*** Make sure they are verifiable ***


Step 3: Making Contact

✜ Finding a voice(s)

  • Community or individual perspective:

    talk to those most affected

    ✜ Do a call out using your networks, your friends, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

    ✜ Allow for different points of view – diverging perspectives or the pros and cons


✜ Google the person’s name with first 3 digits of area code or location

- Government – Database of experts (http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Media-Media/Expert-Expert_eng.asp)

✜ Don’t leave a message until you’ve called at least 3 times

  • Be persistent & firm

  • Mention if you have deadlines

    ✜ Just show up

    ✜ Try, if possible, & if needed to avoid the ‘media rep’ (especially for investigative pieces)


Step 4: The Interview(s)

✜ Do your background research

✜ Questions: Easy, open-ended and one at a time

✜ How to end the interview – 5 major ending questions:

  • How do you spell your name?

  • Do you have a specific title?

  • Is there anything else you’d like to add?

  • Are quotes attributed to you or your organization?

  • Is there anyone else I should talk to about this topic?


Step 5: Writing the story

Start:

✜ The “Lede”, a sentence or two that introduces your article. Opening paragraph: ‘Who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ & ‘when’

Middle:

✜ The ‘Why’ and ‘How’

✜ Context and quotes

End:

✜ Don’t summarize


Step 6: Don’t get sued!

✜ Libel – Printed defamation

✜ Truth

✜ Fair comment

✜ Responsible Journalism

Doubtful? Consult a lawyer. Period.


Questions?

Thank you!


References

Paley, Dawn and Ling, Justin. (October 2011). So you want to write for the Media Coop? Vancouver Media Coop. Available at: http://www.mediacoop.ca/sites/mediacoop.ca/files2/mc/writers_guide.pdf

The Dominion. (no date). Write for the Dominion. Available at: http://www.dominionpaper.ca/write


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