Some tidbits from SPJRI, days 1-2

The SPJ’s Reporter Institute, which is designed to train young journalists, wraps up tomorrow. If you haven’t done so already, check out the Twitter hashtag #spjri for live tweets from me (@mroseMN) and others as the conference unfolds.

Also, sometime after the institute, look for some video from a Q and A with Kansas University Knight Chair and SPJ member Pam Fine on this blog. The session was designed for young journos to fire away with questions regarding the industry’s — and their own — futures. More on this to come.

So far, we’ve gotten good sessions on ethics, FOI, media diversity, new media and writing fundamentals. I will highlight some of the points that have stood out to me, regardless of session, below. Check back later (when I’m less exhausted) for a more extensive recap.

Without further ado, some quick thoughts, from the minds of Charles Davis (FOI), Adrian Uribarri (ethics), Kenneth Irby (diversity), Stacia Deshishku (new media, “multi-platform” journalism) and Dr. Roy Peter Clark (writing skills):

  • On the subject of FOI, make records and other documents your friends, and get them before you ever have a story idea or a deadline
  • Send FOI requests regularly, if for no other reason than to keep your sources — and you — sharp
  • Diversity encompasses race, but there’s much more than just race involved. Look for cultural, educational, social, etc., differences and gauge whether your coverage fairly represents your community — all of it
  • Be prepared to be a “multi-platform” journalist. But don’t worry about knowing all the skills off the bat…many of your peers need training in one area or another, too
  • Ethics are best worked out in a group setting, with lots of discussion. Oner person CAN’T know all the answers to ethical questions
  • When writing, pay careful note to words at the end of sentences and, especially, at the end of paragraphs. These areas are “hot spots” that draw a reader’s attention
  • This type of word emphasis can be applied to Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other platforms that are generally viewed as less formal. Make your writing jump, whether its in 140 characters or 20 column inches

Sorry if this was a bit scattered…just trying to put some quick thoughts up. When I recover from my whirlwind travels, I’ll post more in-depth wrap-ups of some of the areas above.

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