Journalists' Information Gathering Tools

Three tools to find info for stories – interviews, observation, background research

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JOURNALISTS investigate and report on events, issues and trends for the mass audiences of print, broadcast and online media such as newspapers, magazines and books, radio and television stations and networks, and blogs and social and mobile media.

They write hard news stories, which are short, timely and focused reports on what's just happened, and feature stories, which are soft, not as timely, yet with a topical news peg (raison d'etre or reason for existence).    How to write a feature story »

Researching stories. Any journalist, whether covering hard or soft news, needs to gather information in preparation for writing. All writers have to conduct research and gather information before they can start writing. Journalists use three main tools to collect information for stories: Gathering info. Expanding on those three, here are typical ways to collect information for a news story: Checking facts. By the way, while it might seem that double checking facts would be very important after a story is written, newspapers rarely employ people solely to check facts in articles. Magazines still do check facts, but the practice is becoming less common. The consummate professional writer will check facts anyway, either personally or with help from an editor.

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© 2011 Dr. Anthony Curtis, Mass Communication Dept., University of North Carolina at Pembroke    email    home page