One of the best accuracy checklists I’ve seen

Frank Fee’s 44 Tips for Greater Accuracy How to avoid mechanical/objective errors in your newspaper Always do the math. Don’t rely on another person’s figures. Remember that “officials” and “experts” may be as bad at math as journalists. Don’t be too busy or proud to consult a math text or math guide–and have one available….

July 16, 2018, critique

Praises Lucas’ piece on Starbucks getting rid of straws was the standout in this edition. It took a clear stance, included research and context and acknowledged competing viewpoints. Page design is coming along, guys! We are doing a great job with headline hierarchy and designing around dominant art. The next step is to add more…

June 25, 2018, critique

Praises Ginger’s piece on “Jurassic World” was a smart, authoritative and enlightening piece. This is because of the context, facts and informed opinions she included along with an easy-to-read but not dumbed-down writing style. Cheers to Ginger! Best lead None stands out. Photo of the week None stands out. Best headline ‘Roseanne’ without Barr Clever,…

June 18, 2018, critique

There are A TON of comments marked on the critique, so I suggest each of you go through it. Below I’ve identified things to look out for based on “trends” — as in things I see more than once and lessons all of you could benefit from. Praises You did it! The first summer issue…

Oct. 30, 2017, critique

Praises Single quotes in front-page headline. Angela did an unexpected profile on the chairperson of the Board of Trustees. It was nice to see something a little different from what we usually do. Photo of the Week None stands out. Best lede Lindsey Salvatelli | Northern Star DeKALB — Members of the Asian American Resource Center…

Oct. 26, 2017, critique

Praises • More faces! Our photos featured faces prominently throughout this week, and I think the paper benefited from it. • Our content in general was strong. Good mix of hard news and lighter news. • There was an attempt to add several points of entry into the design — breakout boxes, pull quotes, mugs,…

Go on TV!

Staffers from the Northern Star occasionally will talk about stories they’ve done on-air on Northern Television Center, which is NIU’s student-run TV news broadcast. You might be asked to participate if you’ve done a story that is an exclusive or involves enterprise reporting. If you are, no worries! View this mini-training session  before you go….

Don’t let your opinions sneak in

Journalists don’t put their thoughts and opinions in anything except columns and editorials. Doing that is referred to as “editorializing.” Instead our job is to ask others for their thoughts and report them to our readers. Here are some examples of editorializing in the first issue.   We also editorialize in a headline and the…

Public meeting closed illegally?

If you believe a meeting is being closed to the public illegally, you should utter the script below. HOWEVER, do this rarely and make sure your feet are firmly planted in the facts/OMA. Talk with your editor first. (Mr. Or Madame Chairman): I am _______, a reporter for_________. I protest the closing of this meeting….

When to cite your sources

I’ve noticed we’re citing our sources when we don’t need to sometimes. Other times we don’t attribute when we should. For example, in today’s anti-hazing story, we cite the Daily-Herald for the details of Bogenberger’s death. But then we don’t attribute this: “On the night of Nov. 1, 2012, 19 pledges were questioned in the…

Pause and think before taking the obvious shot

    Somewhere there must have been written a rule about taking photos of police dogs. It would go something like this: When taking a photo of a police dog, make sure the dog is posing with an officer in front of a police car. It’s easy to go with the first thing we think…