Archive for July, 2011

Location! Location! Location! 4 Ways to Improve the ‘Where’ of Your Coverage

by on Jul.24, 2011, under In the News, What's New

A story written for the Radio Television Digital News Association:

Location! Location! Location! 4 Ways to Improve the ‘Where’ of Your Coverage
Mar 12 2011
By Lynn Walsh, Texas Watchdog & RTDNA Blogger

Whether it is online, on the radio or on TV every story we report happens somewhere. For many the “where” part of that is very important.

As reporters we are traveling in and out of neighborhoods in our communities every day. We become familiar with places and neighborhoods more than most do just living in them. Sometimes, I think, that the familiarity we gain as reporters, editors or photographers can be taken for granted as we write, produce and tell our stories.

We tell the stories and may forget to include our location or just include it with a lower-third or caption in a picture. While the location is there, it is not always the most helpful. Here are some ways we as reporters can better include location in our stories.

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8 Ways To Improve Your Social Media Usage

by on Jul.24, 2011, under In the News, What's New

A story written for the Radio Television Digital News Association:

8 Ways To Improve Your Social Media Usage
Mar 30 2011
By Lynn Walsh, Texas Watchdog & RTDNA Blogger

Social media – some people love it, others despise it. But, no matter what side you may fall on, as a journalist you are probably on at least one and using it for both professional and personal reasons.

The mix between professional and personal can be tricky to balance. How much sharing is too much? Should you “like” politicians on Facebook? What about liking links to stories that show bias one way or the other? And most importantly: What about the comments you make or status updates you post, are they biased?

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4 Ways to Make Sure Your Facts Are Bulletproof

by on Jul.24, 2011, under In the News, What's New

A story written for the Radio Television Digital News Association:

4 Ways to Make Sure Your Facts Are Bulletproof
Apr 05 2011
By Lynn Walsh, Texas Watchdog & RTDNA Blogger

If it’s on the internet or television it has to be true, right?

I hope we all know the answer to that question.

Or how about all the people you have heard justify something they have said with one of the following statements: “But I saw it on the news..That’s what they said on the radio this morning…But, I read it in the newspaper.”

While I believe in journalism and journalists, I am not sure I can say that just because something is covered by the news and appears in the news it is ALWAYS true. I do believe that most journalists go above and beyond to fact-check their stories but sometimes things slip through the cracks. And I would argue more often than not it happens when using the internet or online sources to verify the facts in a story.

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4 Ways to Develop Stories Via Social Media

by on Jul.24, 2011, under In the News, What's New

A story written for the Radio Television Digital News Association:

4 Ways to Develop Stories Via Social Media
Apr 11 2011
By Lynn Walsh, Texas Watchdog & RTDNA Blogger

Getting sick of covering a story featured on a press release? It is time to develop your own unique story then and social media can help.

The best way to break away from the every-day story is to develop your own and pitch it to your news manager. With Facebook and Twitter around it is easy. Here are some tips to use social media to develop enterprise stories for your news room.

1. Connect with people. Whether it is on Facebook or Twitter, search for the people, groups, etc. that are influences in your community or your beat and follow them or friend them. I would even ask to join their groups and be notified of when meetings/events are. Consider creating lists on Twitter for different categories of people, that way their posts don’t get lost in the online shuffle of updates. Creating a list can also make it easier to just look at those people all at once when it is time to think of story ideas.

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A Retrospective Look at the Royal Wedding News Coverage

by on Jul.24, 2011, under In the News, What's New

A story written for the Radio Television Digital News Association:

A Retrospective Look at the Royal Wedding News Coverage
May 09 2011
By Lynn Walsh, RTDNA Blogger

Two big stories over the last week or so have have proven to be very popular on the web and have kept news coverage extended beyond normal air times. I am referring, of course, to the Royal Wedding and the death of Osama bin Laden.

What’s interesting to me is that the two are completely different genres of news: one can be considered a “fluffy” entertainment piece and the other a hard-news, stop-the-presses story.

Even though the two seem drastically different, they both have at least three things in common:

1. Both stories are eliciting strong reactions from most viewers
2. Both stories have created huge frenzies online, especially on social media sites
3. Both stories led newscasts on and after the days the news occurred

The two stories have got me thinking about the resources news organizations put behind stories, especially those that are more entertainment-based.

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5 Things to Check Before Pressing ‘Send’

by on Jul.24, 2011, under In the News, What's New

A story written for the Radio Television Digital News Association:

5 Things to Check Before Pressing ‘Send’
May 16 2011
By Lynn Walsh, RTDNA Blogger

If there is one thing all journalists have in common it’s that we are all busy! There are always too many phone calls to make, too many e-mails to send and too many stories to cover.

And if you are anything like me, that means you are probably constantly thinking of multiple things at once. When you are writing an e-mail or making a phone call you are probably also thinking about the next phone call or the next e-mail that needs to be sent.

I am not sure there will ever be a day when a journalist is not busy, but in the rush of things there are a few things that can help you. These are simple tasks and ones that you probably do everyday. But, in the rush of the moment, these are also things that can sometimes be skipped; it has happened to me many times.

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Make Reporting Life a Little Less Hectic: Manage Phone Calls

by on Jul.24, 2011, under In the News, What's New

A story written for the Radio Television Digital News Association:

Make Reporting Life a Little Less Hectic: Manage Phone Calls
Jun 21 2011
By Lynn Walsh, RTDNA Blogger

Like most people, I am always wishing for a few more minutes or an extra hour in each work day. In my experience it seems reporters may ask for that more often than people in other professions. And, like most reporters, it seems there are always countless thoughts, story ideas or questions to be asking (normally, too many to keep straight!)

While I am not sure anyone can ever have all of it “under control” there are some ways to make small tasks like phone calls more manageable. This is the first of a series of tips I use to help keep my life a little more orderly and less overwhelming. First up, phone calls. You make them every day, some are story specific and need immediate answers while others might be routine beat calls to chat with sources and get story ideas.

Breaking news/deadline situations: These are times you are hanging up the phone as soon as you are picking it making it hard to remember who you called and what happened after the phone began to ring.

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Make Reporting Life a Little Less Hectic: Manage FOIA Requests

by on Jul.24, 2011, under In the News, What's New

A story written for the Radio Television Digital News Association:

Make Reporting Life a Little Less Hectic: Manage FOIA Requests
Jun 28 2011
By Lynn Walsh, RTDNA Blogger

Freedom of Information Act requests and the state equivalent requests may not be everyone’s favorite, but they can be worth it. Unfortunately the requests are not always that easy to keep up with and can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

Here are some ways to make requesting documents more manageable that I use on an almost daily basis. This is the second of a series of tips I use to help keep my life a little more orderly and less overwhelming. Last week it was phone calls, this week it is FOIA and public information requests.

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Make Reporting Life Less Hectic: How to Manage Story Ideas & Keep Your Quotes

by on Jul.24, 2011, under In the News, What's New

A story written for the Radio Television Digital News Association:

Make Reporting Life Less Hectic: How to Manage Story Ideas & Keep Your Quotes
By Lynn Walsh, RTDNA Blogger

While I am not sure anyone can ever have all of it “under control” there are some ways to make small tasks like phone calls more manageable. This is the third of a series of tips I use to help keep my life a little more orderly and less overwhelming. First was phone calls, second was FOIA requests, and the last is story ideas and background information.

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Friend of Rep. Borris Miles runs Costa Rican ‘medical tourism’ firm; HISD approves $600K contract with doc linked to same firm

by on Jul.24, 2011, under Investigations

An investigation for Texas Watchdog:

Friend of Rep. Borris Miles runs Costa Rican ‘medical tourism’ firm; HISD approves $600K contract with doc linked to same firm
Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011, 07:55AM CST
By Trent Seibert & Jennifer Peebles

A state lawmaker and Houston schools vendor who arranged all-expenses-paid trips to Costa Rica for Houston schools trustee Larry Marshall has a friend and business associate who runs a Costa Rican medical tourism company — the same company that played a major role in the medical tourism event Marshall attended in Costa Rica in November.

State Rep. Borris Miles, a Democratic state House member from Houston whose insurance agency services some of the Houston schools’ flood insurance policies, is an associate of DiCarlos Davis, a Houston businessman who is CEO of International Healthcare Access. The firm’s website touts weight loss services, cancer treatments, dental care and cosmetic procedures that are available from its affiliated doctors in Costa Rica.

Records show Davis’ firm was a major participant in the November medical tourism “familiarization trip” that Marshall attended in Costa Rica, a trip Miles has said he arranged. Miles has said he wants to help people lower their health care costs by exploring medical tourism.

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