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Resources for the modern journalist. From Loose Wire

Getting the Story Out

Writing for online is all about getting the story out as quickly and creatively as possible.

Remember: Your phone is your weapon

  • Voice: staying in touch with the desk, colleagues, sources
  • Data: SMS, email, MMS
  • Photos: a phone is a great camera
  • Video: even scratchy video can be compelling

You must be prepared:

  • Get all your background ready before you leave for the event.
  • Make sure all your equipment works.
  • Make sure all your connections work: voice, data, backup channels.
  • Contact numbers of the desk, email addresses all ready to go.
  • Is everything charged?

Coordinate with your online team:

  • Does the desk know what you’re doing?
  • Have you prepared a template/different versions of the story/curtain raiser?
  • Is there anything already online that the desk could use?

Anticipating the story

  • While you’re waiting for the event to start, is there anything you can scan/ dictate/photograph/email the desk?
  • What is the story likely to be?
  • What’s the likely lead going to be?
  • What kind of quote should you be looking out for?
  • What sort of context?

As the event unfolds

  • Is it worth sending something to the desk while the event is going on?
  • How about a quick picture?
  • A couple of paragraphs?
  • Is it worth streaming some audio or video?
  • SMS a bit of colour?
  • SMS an update about when the event will finish?

Compose in your head

  • How much of those vital first few paragraphs have you already composed in your head?
  • If you’re having problems, doing so, don’t worry.
  • Ask yourself the basic question: “So what’s this all about?”
  • If you’re still not sure, compose one version. You can always change it later.

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