CCJ Tools

How to Write a Letter to the Editor

By RJI on June 10, 2007 0 Comments

Newspaper "letters to the editor" are usually short comments that make one simple point. They are usually a response to something that has appeared in the op ed page, an editorial, or some information that has appeared in a news story. And they usually are an attempt to hear public response or attitudes about the news or newspaper's stand. Generally, letters-to-the-editor are not the place for the public to demand a correction or complain about inaccuracies or bias.

The Trouble with Harry

By RJI on February 29, 2008 0 Comments

The professional British media organization which crafted and policed a nation-wide wide agreement not to report about Prince Harry’s deployment to Afghanistan tells the story behind the story today in the Guardian.

Multimedia Literacy is Not Optional

By RJI on February 20, 2008 0 Comments

Thinking outside the box is harder than it sounds – pretty much by definition.

But how you choose to tell a story -- the method you select -- tells a story of its own: about your fears and your strengths and your comfort level using unfamiliar tools. With so many ways to tell a story it’s a small wonder that newsrooms may be overwhelmed with the choices, and eager to take refuge in the familiar.

Reinvent Journalism in 10 Easy Steps

By RJI on February 20, 2008 0 Comments

1. We love lists
2. Lists are good
3. List provide a nifty, economical way to provide words to live by or talking points for further discussion

So here are 10 things intended to “reinvent journalism,” courtesy of

Political Cartoons in the Age of Hillary and Barack

By RJI on February 11, 2008 0 Comments

It's tough enough watching your language to avoid gaffes that can be seized upon as evidence of bias or worse.

But what about our colleagues whose jobs it is to exaggerate? What are editorial cartoonists doing these days with two presidential candidates who aren't middle-aged white guys?

Trust Me, I'm For [Candidate's Name Here]

By RJI on February 8, 2008 0 Comments

Add another voice to the debate about reporters and politics and transparency and if when the twain should ever meet.

Previously, we heard from the following counties:

Limiting Legal Risk

By RJI on February 1, 2008 0 Comments

The Knight Citizen News Network provides a handy, wallet-sized (well, not really) set of rules by which any decent journalist should abide -- if for no other reason that doing so will lessen the chances you'll be hauled into court.

Wikipedia & Newsrooms

By RJI on January 30, 2008 0 Comments

Wikipedia is still considered pretty radioactive among journalists. We know we can't trust its entries at any given moment since anyone can edit them. We take no comfort in assurances to contributors like "You can't break Wikipedia. Anything can be fixed or improved later" -- when "later" is five minutes after I hit the button.

Why reporters get it wrong

By RJI on January 15, 2008 0 Comments

The conventional wisdom that emerged in the run-up to the New Hampshire primary was widely reported: Barack Obama's decisive victory in Iowa's Democratic caucuses would slingshot him into a Granite State victory, and then ...

As The Nose Grows

By RJI on January 8, 2008 0 Comments

"Comment is free, but facts are sacred."

With those words, the Washington Post launched The Fact Checker this political season to ferret out statements and claims that are "at variance with the facts."

Days of Future Passed

By RJI on January 3, 2008 0 Comments

When you slipped through that swinging door from the cramped newsroom to the expansive composing room, it was almost like you were walking into a factory. And in a sense, you were – a news factory.

Public Service or Persecution?

By RJI on January 1, 2008 0 Comments

“This story is my attempt to understand how two television stations could receive the same tip, yet end with totally opposite conclusions. It marked the first time I realized - and felt uncomfortable with - the power those of us in local TV news have over the lives of private people.”

Who Hates the Press?

By RJI on December 31, 2007 0 Comments

A new study traces more than thirty years of changing public attitudes toward the news media, and unhappily finds that to know journalism is to disdain it. Timothy E. Cook and Paul Gronke, in the July edition of Political Communication, find that “for the heaviest consumers of the news (the more educated, the better-off, older respondents),…familiarity with the news product breeds a lack of confidence (if not contempt) with the press as an institution.”

Managing Time Better

By RJI on December 28, 2007 0 Comments

A serious effort to improve your time-management skills can make a remarkable difference in your life.

Those who practice effective time management think more clearly, are more creative and are better performers. And, they have more time in their lives for the personal and professional things that matter most.

Covering the Whole Campaign

By RJI on December 21, 2007 0 Comments

It's easy to get caught up in the back and forth between the two main candidates in a race or between the two main sides in a ballot initiative, but most campaigns are much bigger than that. Campaigns are about communities and voters too. Here are some ways to expand your coverage.

Zell at Press Conference Declares Newspapers 'Ain't Ended'

By RJI on December 21, 2007 0 Comments

NEW YORK One hour into his role as chairman and CEO of the newly private Tribune Co., Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell declared Thursday afternoon that he would turn around the troubled media giant with a mixture of unconventional thinking, candor, and humor.

Steroids in the “Toy Department”

By RJI on December 20, 2007 0 Comments

In the wake of the Mitchell report to baseball, Mark Jurkowitz’s article in The Phoenix in Boston is perhaps more timely today than when it originally appeared almost two years ago.

He writes:

Last week was an important moment in the history of American journalism. After reading the explosive steroids-scandal book Game of Shadows, written by two San Francisco Chronicle reporters, baseball commissioner Bud Selig finally emerged from his cocoon of denial to announce an investigation into the performance-enhancing drugs that have cast a cloud over the sport and particularly over San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds, who is 47 home runs away from catching all-time leader Hank Aaron.

Think Globally, Read Locally

By RJI on December 18, 2007 0 Comments

In early December, the Cleveland Plain Dealer ran more than a dozen pieces over several days on one of the city’s poorer, more violent neighborhoods, Mount Pleasant. The paper chronicled the area’s decades-long decline, conveyed what it is like to live there now, and offered suggestions for the future.

Bringing Back Verbs

By RJI on December 18, 2007 0 Comments

It probably won’t be easy, but bless John Reiss for trying. Reiss, the senior broadcast producer at NBC Nightly News, has launched a campaign to get verbs back on the air at his network.

The Hit-Job Mentality

By RJI on December 18, 2007 0 Comments

Memo to political reporters: Enough already.

Is it really necessary to allow operatives from one campaign to attack another candidate without their names attached? These strategists are paid to slam the other contenders. Why should they be able to hide behind a curtain of anonymity? Do you really want to be aiding and abetting that sort of cheap-shot politics?