The media industry lives and dies on deadlines. As a media writer, you must be able to write accurately, quickly, and forcefully under considerable time pressure from wherever you happen to be working. And you have to be able to repeat this performance reliably every day. Even if your story is the best work you have ever done, it is worthless if you miss your deadline.

Audiences need news in order to make critical decisions in their daily lives. Who is running for state representative this November? Did the school board pass that big bond issue last night? Is Highway 29 still closed in my neighborhood? News breaks continuously, and competing news organizations are always ready to step in and grab the scoop. If you want to keep readers coming back to your publication, you must meet your deadlines every time. Being accurate in your news writing means practicing verification of facts and attribution of those facts to sources. In other words, seek the truth and then make sure it’s the truth. Trust but verify. Attribute all information to sources.

Journalists bring a healthy degree of skepticism to every assignment they tackle. They conduct background research; they double-check everything they are told and seek out additional sources for corroboration. As a rule, a reporter will interview a minimum of three sources for any news story.


Although not every source will appear in the final story and you will probably not use every piece of information you gathered, everything you write should be cross-checked and verified.