Try This at Home

This subsection of the Need to Know newsletter offers useful insights and ideas you can try yourself.

How Vox Media built a bot for discovering related content

After talking to editors and hearing a need for a tool to find older articles that people may have forgotten about, the Vox Media product team built a bot to solve the problem. The team chose to build a Slack bot, making it easier for editors to use the bot within their existing workflows. An […]

Tips for building successful online communities

When trying to foster communities online, we need to be aware that all online communities have their own language and ways to identify outsiders, Laura Petrolino writes. Petrolino shares ways to learn the language and build an online community, including: Identify influencers in the community first, check out what the competitors do, and think about […]

A tip for how reporters can increase the diversity of their sources

Writing about how he set out to include more female sources in his stories, writer John R. Platt shares an important tip from Women’s Media Center’s Kate McCarthy on how all reporters can increase the diversity of sources they turn to again and again. McCarthy suggests that reporters spend some time in between deadlines building […]

Sometimes you need to get creative about gathering data for a story

Reporting on last month’s shutdown of the Washington, D.C., metro, the Bloomberg graphics team created a map of surge pricing on Uber. But because Uber only shares that information with users when they request a ride, the graphics reporters had to manually request dozens of rides and take notes on how prices changed. Graphics reporter […]

Questions for publishers to ask themselves before using a third-party tool

Before adopting a third-party tool, Melody Kramer writes that publishers should consider what kinds of information the tool would gather about its readers and what expectation of privacy a user of their website has. Kramer outlines a list of questions publishers should ask themselves before integrating a third-party tool or collecting information about their users […]

More than 200 ideas for your next podcast

If you’re looking to start a podcast at your news organization, but aren’t sure what topic you should tackle, Melody Kramer and Christine Eriksen are here to help. Kramer and Eriksen compiled a list of more than 200 podcast ideas, including interviewing people on your block, a news program about the election from the perspective […]

How New York Magazine created an aggressive Instagram strategy and gained more than 285,000 followers

In the last year, New York Magazine has focused on translating the visual nature of the magazine to Instagram, with its @nymag account going from 190,000 followers to more than 475,000 followers. The social media team meets with the photo department to talk about the print magazine’s cover art and other elements that could translate […]

How to start a small data journalism team in your newsroom

uilding a data journalism team in a small- or medium-sized newsroom can seem daunting, but ProPublica’s Scott Klein says it’s OK to start small. Klein offers tips for starting a small data journalism team in your newsroom, with advice including treating the team like a news desk, pick a strong editor to lead the team […]

Reporting tips from Pulitzer winners: Stop asking so many questions and get people out of a story as well as you get them in

At a recent writing seminar held by Poynter ahead of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes, past winners offered their reporting tips. Among their advice: Tom French, who won in 1998 for feature writing, says reporters should rely less upon interview questions and feel comfortable reporting what they observe. And Leonard Pitts Jr., who won in 2004 for […]

3 crucial steps for a successful digital transformation in newsrooms

News organizations often get stuck with digital transformation projects, finding the idea of getting started daunting. Dietmar Schantin says there’s three essential steps for digital transformation in newsrooms: A powerful vision needs to be conveyed to the entire organization, the parts of the organization that will be affected need to be identified, and leaders for […]