Six Journalism Sins Every Reporter Should Know About

Disclaimer: This will be rant-like in nature. I apologize in advance, but encourage discussion! If you have your own journalistic frustrations, feel free to add to the list!

1. Using “kids” instead of “children” when referring to people. Children are children. Kids are baby goats. Like this one:

2. Starting sentences with numbers. WHY? There are so many other (and prettier!) options for starting a sentence. Do that instead!

3. One-source stories. As good as one interview may have been, there’s no reason not have two sources at the very minimum, but 99.9999999999% of the time, there should be at least three. Round out the story. Get ALL sides of an issue. Tell the FULL story. I don’t know when that’s able to be done without multiple sources. (Obviously, there’s an exception for breaking or developing news.)

4. Using other articles as a source. Why are you letting someone else do your work? Make a few phone calls, stop by a few offices, send out some emails. It’s not as hard as it sounds, I promise.

4. Editorials that don’t show both sides of the issue. As a former opinion editor for my college paper, this is one of my biggest frustrations. I know opinion writing isn’t for everyone, but it doesn’t take that much more effort to look up what the opposing view of what you’re arguing to add depth to the story. The best way to make an argument is to show the other side and then use facts/statistics/etc. to back up your opinion and show why the other side is wrong. Easy, peezy.

5. Ledes that don’t draw you in. ZzzzzZZZzzzzZzzz….. Wait, what was I blogging about?

6. Long stories that are not broken up with subheads. Nobody wants to read a story of 1,000 + words without having an understand of where it’s going. Especially if it’s online. Subheads are your best friends. Like these guys were back in the ’90s:

*Images courtesy of a Google search


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