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Some random thoughts about reporting, prompted by a less-than-dull news cycle

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1. What do newspapers do when they have more story than front page? The New York Daily News’ approach to yesterday’s fun is a favorite. The Poynter Institute links to a few, and the Newseum has them all.

2. I’ve been wondering what’s going through the minds of reporters, and not just the ones who spent the election trying to sex up Emails! I don’t think it is possible to say that reporters definitely should have been able to uncover the hush-money payments. Or the fact that Manafort has horrible taste in clothing. But I do think that missing big stories should cause a great deal of retrospection on the part of reporters who cover politics. Or crime.

3. In response to the Blusterer-in-Chief’s latest bout of name-calling, hundreds of news outlets published
editorials about the importance of the free press on Aug. 16. It was a much-needed effort, but now what? Poynter has some ideas:

News organizations must advance a steady series of actions in a larger campaign to confront attacks on the press.

Editorial boards have committed to one action, and spent newsroom resources on this campaign. What else are news organizations willing to commit and sacrifice in order to meet this threat?

The authors offer seven ideas, that range from setting a goal to sharing more ideas. My favorite: Show your work.

Many of our favorite news organizations tell process stories about their journalism, but many more should. How did your newsroom serve the public interest this week? How did the story come together? Tell that story on your site, in addition to preparing conference presentations and write-ups for industry press, which are geared towards other journalists. (See Adriana Gallardo’s explanation of how ProPublica collected nearly 5,000 stories from women who died or almost died in childbirth, or David Fahrenthold’s process for following the Trump family’s promises of charitable donations, or The New York Times’ regular “Story Behind the Story” feature.)

Perhaps only news nerds care about how the sausage is made, but it never hurts to explain to people what they’re paying you to do. So they keep paying you to do it.

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