Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Keeping it Interesting

I feel like a lot of sports journalists get flak. They get flak from the players when they ask questions. They get flak for the kind of questions they ask from the fans. I can just see the look on player's faces as a microphone or recorder is stuck in their face. They just want to work hard and earn millions of dollars

But I as a journalist in training, I feel for the sports j people. I can see how games can get monotonous. That's why the reporters ask crazy questions because how many questions can you ask about a goal or even worse another loss. Even though I know a lot of people who want to work in sports journalism, it seems like a thankless job.

That's why I think there's a real art to sports journalism. Game after similar game, journalists have to come up with a new and interesting way to tell a story about the game. I think sports journalism takes a person who is passionate and looks at telling stories through sports, not just reporting on the game.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Journalism can't just be words on a page

In the highly visual and interactive world we live in, it's obvious journalism has to move in the same way and interpret information for people visually. A good place to get information that can be a story with a visual component is Stats Canada.

I found some information about travelers to Canada, excluding the United States. I thought it was interesting to see how many people and from what country visit Canada. I think this information could be used as a story about tourism to Canada: what countries visit Canada the most or who is spending their tourism money in Canada. I also thought this information was interesting too because it's pretty recent. It' from 2011, which is up to date compared to some of the information on Stats Canada.

So here is the chart I found:

Country of residence 2011
July August September October November
Total travellers from Europe 193,519 191,745 196,759 195,948 199,285
Total travellers from Africa 7,629 8,067 8,129 8,304 8,162
Total travellers from Asia 111,838 112,149 107,879 106,958 109,861
Total travellers from North America, Central America and Caribbean 24,953 26,017 26,758 26,976 27,709
Total travellers from South America 15,683 14,990 15,786 15,576 14,397
Total travellers from Oceania and other Ocean Islands 25,672 24,902 25,816 25,179 23,875

But looking at these numbers in a chart isn't that exciting. So I put the numbers into Google fusion tables and this is what I got:

This one didn't work out so well...

I thought an intensity map would actually work the best for this data, but it didn't seem to be working for me when I put in my data. I think it's because I maybe needed to refine my locations, which just goes to show that visualization is a special skill that takes some knowledge and work.

Monday, February 6, 2012

That's Not a Story

I'm always asking people to tell me their stories. But sometimes people pitch things that really aren't stories. Or sometimes people pitch stories without mentioning what is relevant or news, so I thought I'd give a little list on what I look for in a story:

1) What is new? Sure your organization might be great and do great things, but what have you done lately that is new. You can't spell news without new.

2) How does the story you're pitching affect people? Are you a non-profit who helps people? Where are those people, because they're really the story and who I want to speak with when I do the story.

3) Do you have any sources to back up your story? One can say the government is corrupt and that an elected official is a crook, but where are the goods to back it up? People who won't speak on record and generalized comments about people aren't great sources for stories. And editors really don't like nameless sources.

4) Think about who you're pitching the story to. Right now I freelance for community news outlets. Although I'd love to write every story, sometimes I just don't have an outlet. If you really want your story covered think about which outlet you're pitching it too.

So please keep the pitches coming. I'm always looking for story ideas and I hope that the list above gives an idea of what goes through my head when listening to story ideas.