Always good to honor the great work still being done in our industry. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented its 32nd annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards Monday night. TVNEWSER reports: CBS News dominated its competition, pulling home 10 awards–the most for a network news division in a decade. In addition, former CNN host Larry King received a lifetime achievement Emmy (pictured right with Brian Williams and NATAS chairman Malachy Wienges).
National Geographic Channel was next with seven awards, followed by PBS with six awards and Discovery Channel with three awards. CNN, NBC News and the New York Times all tied with two awards each, with BBC America, MSNBC, HDNet HBO, the Los Angeles Times, CNBC, NPR and Smithsonian Channel each landing one Emmy.
..one of my favorite rites of fall, Beloit College’s Mindset List. Before school starts each September, Beloit Professor Tom McBride along with the college’s former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief trot out a list of social and experiential realities that have shaped the lives of incoming college freshmen. The list is meant to give educators insights into the mindset of their students so there can be more productive classroom learning and dialogue. The list is not only instructive for college professors, it’s also useful for businesses, advertisers, marketing executives, and yes, even news organizations.
Updated and expanded Twitter tips for journalists
Someday Twitter tips will seem as unnecessary for most journalists as notebook tips. But in the past few weeks, Steve Buttry notes, “I have encountered several journalists who were not using Twitter yet. A couple just within the last week asked my advice, so I decided to update my tips for journalists using Twitter, originally published in July 2009.”
Here is a sampling:
Breaking news is probably where Twitter shows its greatest value again and again. When news breaks in your community, you can connect with sources and gather information in a variety of ways:
- If you’re following lots of people in your community, you may see tweets from some eyewitnesses or some people feeling the impact.
- You can use Twitter’s Advanced Search to search for keywords that might be likely to pop up in tweets about the breaking story, such as “flood,” “tornado” or “crash.”
- You can use Twitter Search to find hashtag discussions already forming around the event, again trying different keywords. You can save searches for a keyword or a hashtag as a column in TweetDeck or HootSuite or as a saved search in your Twitter account (searches are a column on the Twitter home page).
- If you jump on a breaking story quickly, try to promote a hashtag that others will pick up. If the hashtag catches on, you will see tweets from people you aren’t following. NewsOK.com promotes #okstorm during bad weather.
- As you find tweets indicating that people have first-hand experience with the story you are covering, reply to them (or direct-message them, if you follow them), asking them to call you directly for an interview.
- Search also for photos posted on services such as Twitpic or Instagram. Ask people for permission to publish their photos
- Use NearbyTweets or advanced Twitter search to see what people near the news site are tweeting.
- Feed a hashtag or some feeds of people witnessing the news into your blog or story, using CoverItLive, ScribbleLive or a Twitter widget that feeds them in automatically or using Storify to curate the best tweets or to group tweets by topic or weave them into a story.
- Embed individual tweets or a group of tweets into a story using QuoteURL or Blackbird Pie.
One of the goals of COPY POINT is to dispose of overused words and hyperbole. I’ve just uncovered another one spreading faster than a pandemic. The word is nasty. These are some of the many ways we have used it in the past 30 days:
Nasty Flash Flooding
Nasty consequences (Debt Ceiling)
Nasty Spill (on shirt)
Nasty Surprise (lottery ticket)
Nasty Sore Throat
Nasty Spring(the entire season)
Nasty Road conditions
Nasty Start (holiday accidents)
A good half of these don’t fit any dictionary definition of the word,
1. physically filthy; disgustingly unclean: a nasty pigsty of a room.
2. offensive to taste or smell; nauseating.
3. offensive; objectionable: a nasty habit.
OTNB IDEA: How about “storms packing 69 mph winds, a sore raspy sour throat, icy road conditions, unwelcome surprise..”.
Adjectives can add to understanding in a story, or clutter our copy. Let’s re-commit to precision of language and temporarily put “nasty” on hold.
Anyone watching television these days must be asking what happened to WHEN. Somewhere along the line television headline writers forgot that we need to know when something happened.
You’ve heard it:
“A Homeless man dies in a fire in Murray.”
“Golfers get Quite a Surprise when a plane lands on the ninth green”.
“An Earthquake Rocks the Philippines” we are told a full day after the event.
Now I know no one is deliberately trying to deceive the viewers, but we are creating more news-speak. Our attempts to improve our writing by making it more active and immediate are a great concept, but our results miss the mark.
Adding to the problem is that we then revert back and tell the rest of the story in past tense. If you watch FOX NEWS, they sometimes manage to get all three tenses of a verb of being in one sentence.
A long-time friend of mine Scott Libin at Poynter used to offer this suggestion for breaking the habit. Try talking that way to somebody in person and see what kind of funny look you get. “Come to think of it,” he says, “that’s probably the way a lot of people look at their televisions while the news is on.”