Tuesday, February 15, 2011

About those funny marks on your papers ...

They may look like chicken tracks, but they're copy editing symbols. Here's your key to breaking the code.

Monday, February 14, 2011

You've got a date with the City Council tonight

We'll cover tonight's meeting for a midnight deadline. Midnight means midnight, not 20 minutes after. Your other assignment this week is a story from your beat or the city beat.

As the Boy Scouts like to say:


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A Note on Sources

My expectations for your stories:

1. Bolster your reporting with credible sources. Seek those who are the best qualified to address the subject.

2. Find multiple sources. Your reporting carries more weight if it rests on different perspectives. I won't accept stories with fewer than two sources.

3. Don't rely on friends, acquaintances, employers, family members, etc., as sources. You may think you can be impartial, but you can't.

4. No press releases, please.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Scouting for story ideas

I trust everyone survived Monday's blizzard. I've recommended merit badges in survival for those of you who made it to the City Council meeting. While the event produced little news, you should have scored a few story ideas on several of your beats. Let's talk about those Wednesday.

Meanwhile, take a peek at the agendas for various council committee meetings this week.

I'll make you a special this-week-only deal, too. If you want to cover something from the city beat this week - in lieu of a story from your regular beat - go for it.

By the way, I wrote this post without using a form of the verb "to be." Try it. It forces you to use the active voice.

Monday, February 07, 2011

This Week's Assignments

1. Write brief story from tonight’s City Council meeting. The action begins at 7 p.m. The deadline is midnight. Here's the agenda. You might find this map helpful, too.

2. Write a story from your beat. The feature deadline is Friday at 5 p.m. Breaking news (spot news, event coverage) is due at midnight on the day it breaks.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


How we behave
The social host debate in Missoula, and how it works elsewhere.

Streets need work, but it's not easy. Bridges need work. Potholes need fixing. More parking anyone?

Surveying the problem, but hard to tackle. Panhandling is an ongoing problem, too. The city's debate about that is news.

Growth and development
It's controversial. How should the city grow? Agreement is sometimes elusive. So what is allowed? Chickens? Sign pollution?

Council members
We have a new council member. Sometimes they make news off the job. Changes in members make news.

Taxes matter
People care about this stuff.

Transportation news
Bikes, buses and big rigs make headlines.

Human rights
Missoula's anti-discrimination ordinance made statewide headlines, and the so did the response. It's an ongoing issue.