Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Writing and reporting

Copy editors and grammar pros are finding Internet stardom

Copy editors are the new Internet stars, “a refreshing renaissance for a profession that is generally underappreciated and rarely noticed,” Thomas Vinciguerra writes. Editors such as the Baltimore Sun’s John E. McIntyre and The New Yorker’s Mary Norris have turned columns and blogs about grammar into a substantial online following. “I’ve had the good luck […]

Effective accountability journalists smartly balance their time on story choices, audience interaction

As reporters are being asked to juggle more tasks with fewer resources, high-impact journalists are skilled at managing their responsibilities through what one reporter called “the art of the calendar.” They run their days and devise their work methods in a way that’s anticipatory, efficient and flexible. They give unusual consideration to balancing the need […]

Effective accountability journalists build connections and teamwork within their own newsrooms

In addition to cultural competency with different communities, these highly effective reporters also manage the challenges of life inside stressed and stressful newsrooms. That navigation includes finding “tribes” of like-minded colleagues in all departments and helping to build bridges among those tribes; and when confronted with problems, finding constructive solutions rather than spending energy venting. […]

Effective accountability journalists find their own way and direct their own work

When discussing their work, these journalists did not talk a lot about “editors” or “assignments.” Rather we were struck by the degree to which they took their responsibilities and ran with them, charting their own way, directing their own work. They are a group that’s unlikely to wait for marching orders. “Independence” is a journalist’s […]

Looking ahead: Some questions to start a newsroom conversation on improving accountability efforts

The American Press Institute will continue to move forward with efforts to help accountability journalists do their jobs more effectively and engagingly. Here are some additional questions that all news organizations can consider and pursue: Audiences How do your write for your current audience and expand it at the same time? When competing with national/international […]

7 characteristics of effective accountability journalists

No matter what topics they cover, many journalists hold people and institutions responsible for their words and actions. This “accountability journalism,” whether it is political fact-checking, investigations or other forms of reporting, must still engage readers and impact audiences to be effective. All journalism, in the end, should strive to make the significant interesting. Through […]

Effective accountability journalists exhibit broad curiosity and eagerly adapt to new technologies and platforms

The high-impact accountability reporters we studied consider themselves — and are seen by others — as “early adopters.” Their high level of curiosity propels them to adapt to new platforms, audiences, technology and content with unusual willingness and a sense of necessity and practicality. “Mutate or die,” is how Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot News political writer […]

Effective accountability journalists think about multiple audiences

Within the expansive term “audience” are numerous diverse communities, and a point we heard repeatedly from these journalists is that they think about multiple audiences. Some of the audiences can be quite specific. Some reporting and writing is aimed at one particular audience, and sometimes it’s designed for more than one. Among those audiences or […]

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