The Buttry Diary- Make every word count: Tips for polishing and tightening copy

Steve Buttry emphasizes the ability for writing tight stories in order to hold the reader’s attention. Buttry stresses the following key tips that make for better, tighter writing.

  • Write for the reader, not the source
  • Include only the most important information. Don’t bore the reader with excess information.
  • Don’t cram all the information into a single story. Make use of sidebars, databases, follow-up stories and links.
  • Start writing your story as you report and interview sources.
  • Decide what you want the reader to get out of your story and keep the end in view as you write.
  • Read the copy aloud to identify wordy sentences and extraneous information.
  • Use your words wisely and check each sentence.
  • Active verbs help shorten sentences.
  • Avoid imprecise words such that try to enhance words.
  • Don’t use inflated or extravagant language.
  • Catch redundancy in words, facts and quotes.
  • Ask yourself what the story is about.
  • Avoid the following: there is, there’s, there are, there was, there were, there will be, there could have been, it is, is, are, am, was, were, been, being, very

Add comment Posted in  annibraz ,comm361  Tagged:  April 18, 2012

The Buttry Diary- Webinar on how journalists should use Facebook and Twitter

Steve Buttry presented a webinar on how to apply social media platforms Facebook and Twitter to journalism.

According to Buttry, journalists can use Facebook and Twitter to keep up with social discussions and generate conversation through crowdsourcing and community feedback. These sites are also great tools for marketing, promotions or building a brand.

Buttry highlights the following tips on how to effectively use Facebook:

  • Check agency pages for people on beat
  • Crowdsource by asking questions on other pages
  • Look for people in the news
  • Ask permission to use photos
  • Use Facebook advanced search

Tips for Twitter:

  • Follow officials and agencies on beat
  • Advanced Twitter search
  • Live-tweet sporting events or breaking news
  • Use the appropriate hashtag
  • Check the full Twitter profile
  • Seek verification on sources and Tweets
  • Ask, “How do you know that?”
  • Join the local conversation and follow others regularly
  • Tweet early and often
  • Link to other news sources
  • Promote up-to-date content

Finally, Buttry gives insight on time management skills:

  • Invest time and integrate social media into reporting and editing
  • Organize content with TweetDeck and HootSuite
  • Scan through tweets and decide which ones are important
  • Curate relevant and related content


1 comment Posted in  annibraz ,comm361  Tagged:  April 12, 2012

The Buttry Diary- Developing timeless skills for constantly changing journalism careers

Steve Buttry highlights timeless journalism skills that are applicable to all platforms.

Get the facts right. A journalist can lose all credibility if their accuracy is compromised. Always verify your sources and ask, “How do you know that?”

Keep your writing tight. Make every word count and have a sharp focus. Avoid the suitcase lead. Instead, Buttry recommends a g-string lead: brief and enticing.

Answer the 5 W’s and How.

Incorporate essential story elements such as the character, plot, setting, conflict, theme and resolution.

Rewrite. Read your story aloud and challenge every word.


Add comment Posted in  annibraz ,comm361  Tagged:  April 4, 2012

The Buttry Diary- Career lessons from a former ‘Twitter monkey’

Steve Buttry offers career advice on how journalists can break out of the twitter monkey status. Buttry’s advice is useful for any journalist wanting to advance in the newsroom and gives an accurate depiction of what the next steps are. Some of the strong points that I would like to emphasize are:

Take initiative and work on additional assignments that are outside of your job. People notice if you make an active effort to contribute and put forth additional time and effort.

Network and establish connections with your colleagues, bosses, sources and whoever else you may come across. You never know who will be able to open doors to new opportunities for you in the future.

Blog about your experiences and skills you have acquired over your career. Blogging enables you to engage with readers, establish a community of followers and increase your search engine optimization. Having a blog will give potential employers a solid overview of your skill set and contributions.

Take responsibility and be accountable for your actions. Amend the situation by admitting to faults and working to improve rather than make excuses.


Add comment Posted in  annibraz ,comm361  Tagged:  March 29, 2012


I set up a Pinterest account about two weeks ago, but I left it inactive until today. I started pinning this morning for the first time, and have accumulated 92 pins in the past hour already!

Pinterest is a photo sharing, social media Web site, which allows users to browse through photo collections, also known as pinboards, and pick and choose which images to repin onto their boards. The goal is to bring users together through shared interests such as art, movies, music, hobbies, travel and more.

The images on my boards reflect my interests in the following categories:

For more, check out my Pinterest page:

3 comments Posted in  annibraz ,comm361  Tagged:  March 22, 2012

Briggs: Chapter 9

Data-Driven Journalism and Digitizing Your Life

As we live in the information age, data is a major portion of our personal and professional lives. This chapter offers insight on how to enhance productivity using digital tools.


  • Manage your email account by utilizing filters and folders to organize content.
  • Limit the time your email is open to avoid distraction.
  • Spend no more than two minutes on every email. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your inbox is empty before you sign off.
  • Scan emails and mark the important ones that call for more attention.

Personal productivity tools:

  • Find the fewest solutions that will do the most for you.
  • Electronic management systems such as Google Docs and Microsoft Office Live Suite work best for creating, managing and  sharing lists
  • Doing business online, or cloud computing, allows you to access your files from any location

Develop a strategy:

  • What you need to manage + right tools to manage it = personal productivity
  • Consider cost, compatibility and internet connectivity when choosing the right tools.
  • Office suites include Google and Office Live.
  • Specialized Solutions include programs such as Remember The Milk, Oh don’t forget, Evernote and Backpack.


  • Store your contacts electronically on a spreadsheet or database.
  • Enter any new contacts to your email program or a spreadsheet so you can develop potential news sources.

Bring structure to your work with project management programs.

  • Basecamp is a valuable project management tool for group collaboration.

Data-driven journalism:

  • Create searchable online database.
  • Information that is categorized into fields in a spreadsheet or database is called fielded data.

Telling stories with data:

  • Pull content from databases to create alternate story forms.
  • Share data through application program interface (API), which represents a connections of data and technology between Web sites.
  • APIs  create new distribution channels and generate interaction among Web sites.
  • Create spreadsheets and databases to track, manage and organize contacts.
  • Map mashups organize physical location data and show geographic displays on maps that are broken down by categories.
  • Geographical, location based storytelling is an in intuitive and innovative way to deliver news and connect with your community.

Digitizing your life with personal productivity tools can open new opportunities to delve into a more dynamic, transparent and interactive form of journalism.

Add comment Posted in  annibraz ,briggs ,comm361 March 22, 2012

Briggs: Chapter 8

Telling Stories with Video

Visual journalism is a versatile form of storytelling through video.

YouTube has revolutionized the concept of video journalism, granting virtually everyone the ability to produce and publish digital video on any topic. With YouTube, the audience is now open to all levels of quality and quick, unedited video footage is drawing more attention from viewers.

In this chapter, Briggs offers the following tips on how to plan, shoot and distribute stories through a visual platform.

Planning Video:

There are two main types of video, documentary-style and breaking news videos:

  • Documentary-style offers more control over what footage to shoot and requires advanced planning
  • A breaking news video is spontaneous. You don’t know what you are going to capture in advance, but you may pull in reactions from witnesses on the scene of an event to create a compelling story.


  • A visual way to organize different parts of a story
  • It is important to vary your shots when planning a story
  • Wide-angle shots gives a whole shot of the environment or setting
  • Medium shot presents normal view
  • Close-up shots focus in on subject

Video Interviewing:

  • Choose a comfortable location
  • Be aware of lighting and sound
  • Prewrite questions, discuss questions prior to interview
  • Use non-verbal cues to express interest
  • Record voice-overs to control an interview

Camera Choices:

When it comes to selecting a camera it is important to consider the following factors:

  • Media type
  • High definition
  • Video editing software
  • Accessories–batteries, microphone, tripod, headphone, lighting

Tim Peek, senior producer for NBC shares the following tips on creating web video stories:

  • Keep it short
  • Edit down to absolute minimum
  • Show only the essence of the event
  • Have a logical structure
  • Present in a professional manner
  • Let the story unfold by itself

Shooting Video:

  • Focus- automatic feature will focus on the subject you’re pointing at
  • Zoom- zoom before recording, don’t zoom while someone is talking
  • Exposure- appropriate lighting
  • Be selective in shooting, stop recording when transitioning between different shots
  • Hold shots for at least 15 seconds
  • Be silent while shooting
  • Use “rule of thirds” to compose frames


Visual Storytelling:

  • Arrange video clips in a logical, interesting orde
  • Hook the audience in the first 20 seconds
  • Have a logical story structure with beginning, middle and end
  • Use short clips
  • Stick to your central idea throughout the video
  • Let characters tell the story

Publishing Videos:

  • YouTube, Vimeo, offer free video-sharing services
  • Offer embed codes to publish on other Web sites
  • Helps distribute to a larger audience
  • Increase search engine visibility
  • TubeMogul is a Web service which will distribute videos to over 20 leading video sharing sites

1 comment Posted in  annibraz ,briggs March 14, 2012

Google Timeline and Map: Places I’ve lived

3 comments Posted in  annibraz ,comm361  Tagged:  March 8, 2012

The Buttry Diary- When should journalists use branded social media accounts? Or individual accounts?

Steve Buttry addresses concerns on how journalists should handle crowdsourcing through personal and newsroom social media accounts.

According to Buttry, crowdsourcing or community engagement can be done through branded newsroom and personal social media accounts. Although a branded account may carry a larger audience, sometimes journalists are able to generate a more powerful response from their personal accounts due to previously established relationships in the community. The audience is also more likely to respond to an individual over a brand name.

Crowdsourcing tips:

  • Tweet crowdsourcing requests on personal account and retweet it on the branded account to generate responses from both sides
  • Post a request on Facebook from the newsroom page, share the post from a personal account and comment
  • Encourage staff members to build strong relationships with followers
  • Drive traffic to newsroom pages through links and tweets

Reporters who establish good rapport with the community and outside sources will have a loyal group of followers. Relationships are with the reporters, not the brand. When a reporter leaves, fans and supporters go with them and newsrooms may lose some of its following. Journalists should engage in social media to benefit news organizations and employers should look for reporters who have a strong social media presence and can pull in a loyal audience.

Add comment Posted in  annibraz ,comm361  Tagged:  March 8, 2012

Workshop II: Introduction to Photoshop


This workshop was a general introduction to Adobe Photoshop CS5. As a novice user, this workshop taught me a variety of basic photo editing skills such as:
Photo editing is an essential skill for journalists nowadays, because it provides the ability to enhance photo quality and effectively communicate a message to readers.


Add comment Posted in  annibraz ,comm361  Tagged:  March 8, 2012

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