Surfing the Net on Deadline
Staci D. Kramer’s Tips for Reporters & Editors/News Directors
Rule #1: Troubleshoot your software when you aren’t on deadline.
Rule #2: Don’t surf on deadline.
Build — and maintain — a bookmark file for your beat or specialty.
Update and organize your bookmarks during downtime.
Organize your comments about Web sites and other Internet information. Use a PIM (personal information manager), a database or a third-party application that works with your browser.
Don’t be afraid to browse. You never know where you might find a good story idea.
Try to spend at least 30 minutes a day online at first. A little time now will save a lot of time later.
Set a time limit when you’re browsing.
Use newsgroups and mailing lists to monitor discussions on various subjects and to find sources and story ideas.
Trust but verify.
Whenever possible, spend time “lurking” in a newsgroup or on a mailing list before posting messages. This will save you from embarrassing mistakes.
Check the posting date. Just because it’s new to you doesn’t mean it’s new.
Search for similar messages using a search engine like DejaNews — www.dejanews.com
Learn Netiquette and check for guidelines specific to a particular mailing list or newsgroup, sometimes known as FAQs.
Consider creating a second e-mail address to use for newsgroups and mailing lists.
Check your e-mail at least twice a day.
Use e-mail to contact potential sources or to conduct interviews once you know someone and feel confident dealing with them this way.
Don’t rely on e-mail replies on deadline. Pick up the phone.
Use search engines early and often.
Never rely on one search engine.
If the search engine offers help use it.
Learn simple query language.
Get an e-mail program with a filter if you’re going to get more than a few messages a day.
Use a news tracker to “catch” stories of particular interest to you. Use more than one to broaden the net.
Be adventurous. Be intuitive.
Be cautious. Treat information from the Internet the same way you would information from any source.
And remember, Ethics in Online Journalism = Ethics in Journalism.
Some Notes for Editors/News Directors:
Set up shared bookmark database for newsroom.
Encourage staffers to practice their skills between deadlines.
It’s ok to have newsroom Internet specialists but — at a minimum — everyone should know the basics.
Include ethics in your newsroom training and your continuing education.
Set up guidelines for including urls and other Internet info in articles.
Suggestions for additional tips? Want to share success stories?
Curated From: http://www.stlouisspj.org/surf/tips.html
Staci D. Kramer