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The basics of guerrilla journalism
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The basics of guerrilla journalism

By on Jul 23, 2014

Our calling is inhabited by three kinds of news organizations. Let’s use the Sergio Leone scale: • The Good are ones that practice serious, aggressive journalism, value business news, encourage constant learning by journalists and believe their readers are smart people. At one time, these were called “destination newspapers.” • The Bad are those with [...]

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Weird Al Yankovic takes on business lingo in latest video

Wrapping up a series of eight videos in eight days, Weird Al Yankovic parodies business language. With a tune that sounds very much like Crosby, Stills & Nash’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” the song – “Mission Statement” features Yankovic harmonizing with himself on lyrics full of corporate jargon. As he sings, an artist illustrates the [...]

Hack to flacks: PR advice from a cranky journalist
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Hack to flacks: PR advice from a cranky journalist

Some of you will go directly into public relations or “public affairs” (I always wanted to be in public affairs, but that’s another story). Others are journalists who will leave mid-career for the “dark side” of PR. The latter used to be a sure shot — journalists had the best contacts, writing skills, etc. That’s [...]

Washington Post watchdog Michael Sallah on shoe leather, coyote runs
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Washington Post watchdog Michael Sallah on shoe leather, coyote runs

Michael Sallah enrolled in two journalism courses fall quarter of his freshman year at University of Toledo. It was love at first sight. “I just went bonkers. I fell in love with it. I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do,” Sallah said. Sallah also caught the journalism fervor that lingered from the post-Watergate [...]

Getting punked; getting clarity
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Getting punked; getting clarity

Years ago when I worked in San Diego, I covered a company whose chief executive was truth challenged. So when a fax came across (yes, it was that long ago) claiming that the company had triumphed in a dispute with federal regulators I was suspicious. I called the feds and discovered that the company had [...]

Midyear opportunities for business journalists
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Midyear opportunities for business journalists

With June 30th, we’ve reached the important mid-year point where you can take stock of myriad yardsticks of performance (this is why your editors wanted you to get your expenses in early). It marks the midpoint in the metrics of many companies that follow the calendar year. It also gives you a chance to see [...]

When sources say stupid things
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When sources say stupid things

Friends don’t let friends write drunk, unless one is at the Algonquin Round Table. But what happens when sources say something demonstrably stupid? Do you put in in the paper or online? Let me be clear. First, there is an eternal debate about cleaning up quotes to make them grammatical and keep the speaker from [...]

About those ‘negative’ stories…
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About those ‘negative’ stories…

Business journalists especially face the accusation of being “negative.” Companies want to control their image. Many small outfits have no experience in dealing with the press. Also, more and more, we live in a culture of relentless sales and hype. Many Americans are irrationally optimistic, as Barbara Ehrenreich discussed in her book, Bright-Sided: How Positive [...]

Background, off the record and you
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Background, off the record and you

The most authoritative quotes come from on-the-record named sources, preferably senior executives, labor leaders, scientists, economists and workers with direct knowledge of the news. But there will come times in your career when it’s necessary to used unnamed sources in order to bring some of the most important information to light. While one usually thinks [...]

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