Twitter tips for journalists

Learn how to plan out a Twitter Thread, why Twitter Moments are important and get a refresher on the basics of the platform in this one-hour session led by Detroit Free Press Audience Editor Brian Manzullo.

USA TODAY’s Audience and Operations Editor Felecia Wellington’s guide to Twitter: Spaces

Buck County Courier-Times reporter Christopher Ullery’s template for creating a Twitter Thread

More training on Social:

Protected: Scrape-a-palooza and Google Flourish

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Understanding our key audience segments

Gannett has done extensive research into people interested in news — those who are in our audience today as well as those who aren’t — so we can better understand who we’re working for. These documents and workshops will help you understand the segments, what members of each segment want from us, and how we can earn them as subscribers.

More training on Audience Engagement:

Protected: Advanced sports coverage using Google Earth Pro

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Protected: Google Finance scraping and other tools for business beats

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Protected: Data-scraping websites, PDFs and Flourish

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Environment tools, Part III

We’ll explore some new tools, such as the Environmental Justice Atlas that documents cases around the world of environmental infractions. We’ll also look at Protected Planet, which tracks conservation measures, and the Wildlife Dashboard. 

Link to handout:
Journalist’s Toolbox Environment Tools:

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Data portals: Datahubs, USA Facts and the Humanitarian Exchange

In this training, Mike Reilley will show you how to use three portals to find datasets and even some pre-built graphics.

Open these up before playing the video so you can do your own searches during the training:

USA Facts
Hundreds of government-generated data and fact sheets about many issues: crime, business, public safety, etc.
There are thousands of datasets from financial market data and population growth to cryptocurrency prices. If you don’t find what you are looking for ask the Data Concierge for a free quote to find the data for you.

The Humanitarian Data Exchange

An open-source data portal from the United Nations containing more than 20,000 datasets. Show caution and vett the data you find here as it is open source. Many are posted by nonprofits and special-interest groups, which are clearly marked and have information available about them.
Journalist’s Toolbox Public Records resources:

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Sports databases: Google Flourish and AirTable

Sports are built on data. We’ll work through a series of exercises to build interactive databases of sports data. This can be an effective tool at all levels of sports coverage: A searchable database of college football stats, salaries of high school football coaches in your state, sortable by conference, town, etc. Or professional sports salaries, player stats and more. Tools: and

Dataset: 100 Highest-Paid Athletics 2021–IBuHq7qc-g2f-mSWBx3bnvieQxykp44Vles/edit#gid=0

Source: Sportico |
Journalist’s Toolbox Sports Data:

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Business tools, Part IV: Covering inflation and consumer prices

Learn how to use inflation calculation tools and track prices on Amazon, eBay and other digital platforms. Tools include the Bureau of Labor Statistics,, Google Shopping, and several other resources. We’ll also look at tools for spotting fake online sellers and fake reviews on online sales sites. 

Link to handout:

Journalist’s Toolbox Retail/Inflation tools:

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Productivity: 123Apps and TinyWow

We look at a new (and older): A look at browser-based Swiss Army knife tools that will help your productivity. They help with file management and conversion, quick video edits and more.



Journalist’s Toolbox Productivity resources:

More training on Video:

Scraping Google Maps with PhantomBuster lets you scrape up to 200 locations off Google Maps and drop them into a spreadsheet with ease. It allows you to scrape by address, phone number, Instagram photos and more. PhantomBuster is a paid site but offers a 14-day free trial. Sign up here prior to playing the training video:


Journalist’s Toolbox Data Journalism and Scraping:

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Understanding the Fault Lines framework for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging

Jean Marie Brown of Texas Christian University and the Maynard Institute explores the Fault Lines themselves and reflect on how the framework has been used to shape Table Stakes challenges.

More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

Storytelling Studio and video tools

How to access and use our dynamic, custom and high-impact storytelling tools, including the “In-Depth Framework.”

More training on Photography:

Protected: Reporting tools for early-career journalists, Part I

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Protected: High school and college sports coverage tools, Part II

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Shooting video on your phone

How to get good clips, and what to do with them.

More training on Video:

Protected: High school and college sports coverage tools, Part I

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Understanding the financial side of our business

Learn how to make the budget work for you, rather than the other way around. Our SVP of finance, Tricia Gosser, will help us understand the inner-workings of the financial side of our business. What do you as content executives need to know to be savvy financial operators? Tricia will help you get there.

More training on Project Management:

Empower your research with Lexis/Nexis

How to conduct basic research for news stories.

Lexis/Nexis support resources

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Community engagement for underserved communities

Knoxville News Sentinel Executive Editor Joel Christopher leads a Q&A conversation about best practices, challenges and outcomes that emerge from engaging and including different communities in our conversations, newsletters and content. Featuring David Plazas and LeBron Hill from Black Tennessee Voices and Latino Tennessee Voices, Brenna McDermott from Knoxville Digital Advisory Group and Angela Dennis of the Knox News Soul newsletter. Facilitator Cynthia Benjamin.

More training on Audience Engagement:

Protected: Tools for covering inflation and consumer prices

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Trans 201

In partnership with former USA TODAY Network journalist Leo Caldwell, we will focus on how to tell holistic stories about trans and gender-diverse individuals. Topics will include: Where are all the trans men? Where are the non-white trans folks? Reporting outside the framework of the gender binary. And understanding how your own gendered lens influences story bias.

More training on Ethics & Standards:

Canva 101

Grace Pateras from the Florida-Georgia DOT gave a walkthrough of some of the best tips and tricks for using Canva. Among the many time-saving features she showed were Background Remover, Positioning, Text Spacing and Text Effects. She also provided a handy shortcuts sheet and showed a lot of great Canva examples from across the network.

More training on Social:

Tools for investigating non-profit organizations

Non-profit organizations operate as small, medium-sized and large corporations. Money comes in and out of the organization. But where does it go? Who is making the decisions? And what can be tracked? We’ll look at free (and paid) digital tools for tracking non-profit finances, what their CEOs earn and much more. We’ll also spend some time looking at Form 990s of charities and give you a chance to pull some on organizations in your area.

More training on Investigative:

Build your own reporting robot

How to use the automation function of Github, a tool for programmers, to create a web scraping bot to automatically gather information and data from the web. Our example will be using it to automate a tedious beat check. We will use: githubX-Ray and a little bit of JavaScript programming. No prior coding knowledge needed. Led by Daniel Lathrop, investigative reporter at the Des Moines Register and Aadit Tambe of the University of Maryland.

Build a robot that collects data with GitHub Actions


Write the workflow

GitHub Actions

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Protected: Business reporters and editors: Tools for covering companies and industries

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Ramadan Guidance for employees

Here are some tips for an inclusive atmosphere for your Muslim colleagues.

More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

Libel refresher: What reporters need to know to work within the law

The recent Sarah Palin v. New York Times case reminds us that as journalists, we must clearly understand what libel is, and how that definition could evolve with regard to public figures. You don’t need to be a legal expert, but having this basic framework will keep you in compliance with the law while you carry out your duties. We’ll teach you how to spot possible problem areas, ask for help and prevent potentially libelous phrasing.

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Protected: Google Earth tools for your newsroom

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More training on Design:

DEI tagging for editors and producers

As your newsroom increases storytelling to reflect the communities we serve, what are best practices for tracking the content? Editors and producers are invited to join this session in which we will share revised tags to use for 2022 and what each tag means. Led by Senior Content Strategist Len LaCara and facilitated by Cynthia Benjamin, director of audience engagement and trust.

More training on Ethics & Standards:

Extending the reach of our video through social

Our 2022 coverage strategy puts video closer to the center of our work, because it’s more central to our audiences’ expectations.

More training on Social:

How to produce great video from home

USA TODAY’s Sandy Hooper offers tech tips on lighting, sound, interview methods and social media promotion as foundations for excellent video you can produce without a pro studio.

More training on Video:

Ethics around graphic violence imagery

Guidance and best practices around videos containing graphic violence. Thanks to all who chimed in with questions on the chat, and special thanks to Michael McCarter, Managing Editor, Standards, Ethics, & Inclusion, Andy Scott, Director, Photo and Video Newsgathering, and Eve Chen, Senior Video Producer for leading today’s discussion.

More training on Photography:

Photo Mechanic: Setup and use

USA TODAY’s Bob Deutsch gives a detailed overview of a workhorse tool for photo editing.

More training on Photography:

Print design: Ethics and diversity

The choices we make must be truthful, fair, balanced and complete. Each decision happens in the context of many other decisions, both in the same moment and over time.

More training on Ethics & Standards:

Print design: Color

Our UNIFIED style guide has a very specific description of how color should be used In our design…based in part on a color palette developed specifically for us.​

More training on Design:

Print design: Photography

Use pictures to effectively convey meaning, detail and context — all within an ethical framework.

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Print design: Display type

These items give the reader additional points of entry (or interest) to the stories on the page.

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Print design: Headlines

Think of headlines as a road map for readers to guide them around a page.

More training on Design:

Print design: The grid

Learn about how 3, 4, 6 and 12-column concepts unify our look — making it cleaner and more understandable to readers.

More training on Design:

Visual storytelling: Styles and standards

Common design styles and standards are the framework for great visual storytelling. Learn how the design choices we make, from headline size to photo placement, impact reader perception. Led by the Design Center’s GW Babb, David Anesta, Amy Stanfield and Elora Karim.

More training on Design:

Writing headlines that win with new audiences

The right words aren’t just a powerful way to summarize a story — they’re the best tool we have to reach occasional readers and convert them to paying subscribers. In search and social channels, sharp headlines find and keep loyal audiences. Join content strategy analyst Chris White and Midwest DOT managers Catherine Rogers and Bobby Shipman as they share data-proven ways to craft engaging headlines that bring in new readers again and again. These web gurus scoured our data looking for ways to draw in new readers with powerful headlines. Here’s what they found – and how it can work for your stories.

Study out of Australia … “The effects of subtle misinformation in news headlines.”
Summarized in the New Yorker:
Abstract of the study:

Study out of the Netherlands… “What clicks actually mean”
Abstract :

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Data-scraping web pages, PDFs and Google Finance

How to extract data from the web and PDFs and flow them into a spreadsheet. You’ll also learn how to scrape real-time and historical stock data into Google Sheets to track specific companies or industries.

More training on Investigative:

Project-manage like a pro

Here’s how to deliver on a big project with many moving people and parts. Ten tips in 60 minutes from the Digital Optimization team’s Jessica Davis and Ana Hurler that will help you simplify and win.

More training on Planning:

Identifying discrimination through data

Jayme Fraser of the I-Team and Robbie Gutierrez of the DOT will show how to pick out patterns hiding in data sets.

USA TODAY’s corporate diversity database

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Your power as an informal leader

You don’t need to have rank and seniority to exert leadership. What you prioritize, what you value, how you listen, how you communicate, whose voices and views you feature, who you lift up, small gestures of mentorship, open-mindedness to advice and counsel — these all are informal acts of leadership. In this conversation with USA TODAY’s executive editor for news, Kristen Go, you’ll learn to recognize and harness this power for good.

More training on Career Building:

Strategic thinking and planning

We look at how one of our biggest news organizations in one of our biggest markets does BIG things. From guiding probing investigative projects to introducing a new pay model to staging a marathon, The Free Press team will share how it sizes up and capitalizes on big opportunities. Hosted by executive editor Peter Bhatia and senior news director/digital Anjanette Delgado.

More training on Planning:

Diversity workshop series: Social fault lines

Description: What are social fault lines and how do we question them, define them and report through them? Applications include: covering race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disabilities.

Led by: Romi Ruiz of USA TODAY and Earl Hopkins of the Austin American-Statesman

Recommend reading: Sincerely, Leaders of Color, a column series by POC news leaders

Helpful resource: The DEI Coalition’s excellent guide on allyship for white managers

Diversity Tooklit for Newsrooms has a section on Digital Advisory Groups for useful background

Ethics and practices for reporting on traumatized individuals and communities, done in partnership with the Dart Center for Trauma in Journalism

More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

Rights-cleared music you can use

As part of our recent renewal with our stock music provider, Universal Production Music (UPM –formerly known to us as Killer Tracks), we now have access to additional music tracks.  UPM also owns a company called FirstCom music and we now have access to thousands more tracks in that library as well.  This library has been added to all existing Gannett logins.   

There’s some information attached just to get you familiar with what UPM offers.  They have music directors who can help with your music search.  

As a reminder, we should rely only on UPM for stock music and not the various free sources you may find online.  We do have an enterprise license to use UPM with unlimited seats and unlimited downloads.  Our usage rights for content that we use UPM tracks in are pretty broad and include all our normal needs such as on platform and social networks.  Anyone who needs a login can email to get instructions on how to set one up.  

If you run into problems getting it created or have other questions about where we can use UPM, you are welcome to reach out to Cathy Kononetz, executive director of video content, anytime. 

More training on Audio:

Master classes for business reporters and editors, Part II

We will cover Charity Watch, SEC filings, Form 990s on Guidestar, etc. Google Dataset Search, Google Scholar, including ways to analyze case-law. We will learn to scrape Google Finance to isolate stock data and historical stock data. And will finish by learning how to scrape data from business sites and visualize it using Flourish.

Business coverage tools

Data sets used in this training

Form Ds: See who’s raising money

Journalists Toolbox

More training on Investigative:

Non-narrative video storytelling: Producing a jigsaw puzzle

A master-class that also will hold some value for beginners. Taught through examples by Michael Chow, award-winning videographer and photographer at The Arizona Republic.

Examples Chow uses in the workshop:

Forgive Me

Beyond the Gridiron series


Colorado River

More training on Video:

Management is a marathon

Practical advice for new managers (and potential new managers) on overcoming obstacles, working effectively in a hybrid newsroom, pacing yourself and, always, moving forward, even when you hit that wall at Mile 20. Greg Borowski is deputy editor for news, projects and investigations at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and a late-in-life runner who has completed six marathons and is looking for number seven. Moderated by Tia’Lavon Hill from our Rising Leaders cohort.

More training on Leadership:

Diversity and the newsroom: Tips for expanding coverage and supporting reporters of color

The Columbus Dispatch’s Erica Thompson will explore a few big stories (Stand Your Ground Law being passed in Ohio, the Rittenhouse verdict, the deaths of Ma’Khia Bryant in Columbus and Gabby Petito – and how paying attention to the reactions of diverse audiences can lead to localized stories. She also will offer tips on advocating for diverse coverage and better support of reporters of color.

Resources for journalists experiencing trauma, or journalists who see a colleague in need of help/support

More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

Listening Events

Photo collage by Shawn Dowd

Engage diverse communities by hosting listening sessions.

Black Tennessee Voices’ first Facebook Live virtual event (The Tennessean in Nashville)

Florida Times-Union listening event in Jacksonville, Fla., ahead of the Biden inauguration

On the eve of the inauguration of the first female vice president, we partnered with a local organization to give young women in Jacksonville an opportunity to talk to local women leaders. 

More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

Master classes for business reporters and editors, Part I

We cover Charity Watch, SEC filings, Form 990s on Guidestar, etc. Google Dataset Search, Google Scholar, including ways to analyze case-law. We will learn to scrape Google Finance to isolate stock data and historical stock data. And will finish by learning how to scrape data from business sites and visualize it using Flourish.

More training on Investigative:

Content Diversity Dashboard

Reveal gaps in coverage of underserved communities by mapping and tagging content.

More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

Pass the Mic

Explore sources from underrepresented communities and add to the diversity of sourcing.

More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

Mobile Newsrooms

Go into diverse communities to meet community members, listen to their voices and tell their stories.

More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

Digital Advisory Groups

Krystle Ellis, a community ambassador for the digital advisory groups.

Leverage private social media groups to build relationships with new audiences.

New and existing DAGs — start with this recording. Password: yBT^6v8%

More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

Public Safety Guidance

Transform your coverage to repair relationships and earn trust with communities of color.

Poynter: Gannett launches a network-wide push to re-work its crime coverage

More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

Protected: Reporting tools for sophisticated shopping season retail coverage

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More training on Reporting & Writing:

Mapping tools that reveal inequalities in our communities

We have stories throughout the Network on issues that have directly affected marginalized communities, but what else is occurring there? Is this story a boiling point? Where else across the country has this same issue happened? How did it affect them? This will use Census data and two new network tools: Diversity Dashboard and Pass the Mic, to see where stories land and how to cultivate follow ups with sources.

Featuring: Krystal Nurse, reporter in Lansing, Mich., CJ Benjamin, director of audience engagement and trust and Rachel Kilroy, project manager in our content innovations group

Handy bookmark for census reporters

Here’s the census tract Krystal used during her demo.

More training on Digital design and production:

Protected: Finding diverse sources

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More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

How a local sports reporter found her TikTok audience

Bucks County Courier Times/The Intelligencer sports reporter Nur B. Adam started creating content on her TikTok account at the start of the spring season and has used it to connect with the student athletes she covers. She’s gotten them to participate in videos, including some where they tap into the latest viral trend on the popular app. Some have gone viral, including one that has over 182,000 views and 18,700 likes. Her video rating her photos got 78,000 views, and now she’s created a series of videos. Network social media expert Jaime Cárdenas will interview Nur in an informal conversation and demo open to any of our journalists.

Featuring: Nur B. Adam, sports reporter in Bucks County, Pa., and network social media expert Jaime Cárdenas

More training on Video:

Working with the VPC to put great video with your story

We will talk about the importance of video in everyday journalism, how to work with the VPC, how and what to shoot, different platforms esp. IG reels and TikTok. Featuring Jane Mo, producer of video franchises.

More training on Video:

Write better headlines and captions

Learn how the pros at the Design Center zero in on the heart of the story, using just a few words.

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Conducting a source audit and building a diverse source database

You likely know the racial and ethnic makeup of your newsroom, but what about your sources? Let’s talk about why diverse sourcing is important, how to find out how well your sources represent your community and ideas on creating and retaining those sources.

Featuring: Alfonzo Galvan, reporter in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Jana Hays, reporter in Oklahoma City

More training on Diversity & Inclusion:

Reporters toolkit for search

Use this tool to track and visualize search trends on Google. You can compare terms or sub-topics, and use the tool to compare keywords you can use in SEO tags and headlines. The comparison graphics, maps and list are easy to embed and share.

More training on Reporting & Writing:

News values and judgment

We tackle the fundamentals of what makes a story newsworthy, the essential practices of journalists and the shared values that differentiate journalism from other forms of content and storytelling.

More training on Design:

Conversational headlines

Getting readers to tap your story starts ​with a headline that makes them a promise​.

More training on Design:

Improving our relationship with readers

Our reporting time has never been more valuable — every story we write needs to reach an audience, prompting illumination and change. Understanding who our audiences are, the reasons they seek us out and how we can earn and keep their support is essential to building a sustainable plan for journalism’s future.​ This is a primer on the the audience funnel. First, we will do an audience health checkup and what we can do to help move readers through the loyalty funnel. Then we explore what a reader NEEDS from our content  – and making sure we deliver.

More training on Metrics tools:

Reporting with Pinpoint

Learn how to probe through millions of documents, including audio, video, PDFs and more, to find patterns or that proverbial needle in a haystack. You’ll see case studies of how Gannett journalists have used this software to break big investigative stories.

Download the collection of links discussed during the training below.

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Using specialized search engines to find sources, data and fact-checks

Execute deeper, more precise, more sophisticated web searches by harnessing specialized search engines. Diversity your stories, angles, sources and readers.

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Using search trends to stay ahead of the curve

Narrow parameters, create comparisons and overlays and discover what local audiences are looking for in real time.

Below, read or download the handout from the session.

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Reporting on the Census

On or potentially before Aug. 16, the 2020 Census results will go public. How can you turn these data points into stories? Within hours of release, the Digital Optimization Team will share spreadsheets and searchable maps that will help the entire USA TODAY Network understand changes in their communities. 

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Backgrounding a business

We cover:

  • How to search for proxies and tools for covering business and the economy from Journalist’s Toolbox.
  • How to use Google Finance to research a company and track stock prices.
  • Nonprofits — from ProPublica to Charity Watch — what’s out there as resources, what to look for, how to evaluate it.

More training on Reporting & Writing:

Secure communications with sources and tipsters

Tips and traps: Tools such as Signal app, Freedome and VPNs to keep you, your data and your sources safe. We’ll look at a few Google tools (including how to unplug from Maps tracking) as well as resources from the Digital Security section of Journalist’s Toolbox.

We also look at data scraping: How to scrape data from web pages with Google Sheets, browser-based plug-ins and scraping .PDFs with Students should download the Tabula software at

More training on Investigative:

How to find diverse sources to build trust, better serve our readers and grow audience

Many newsrooms have historically focused on white, Christian, cisgender, heterosexual men when selecting story angles and choosing who to interview for stories on sports, politics, education, culture, courts and law enforcement and many other beats. But when reporters overlook women, LGBTQ people, Asian Americans, Black people, Latinos, disabled people, immigrants, Muslims, atheists and other often overlooked communities, they are missing the stories of this increasingly diverse nation and missing out on the chance to win over readers from those communities. At the same time, surface-level outreach to these communities is not appropriate. Reporters must build trust with sources in diverse communities, especially those outside their own, by staying educated on issues important to these communities and talking to well-known and everyday people in these communities. Every story must have diversity of sources. It is not acceptable to publish a story that does not include people from underserved communities. Writing a story about how billionaires are getting rich from the COVID pandemic? Talk to a Latino economist and/or a Black billionaire. Writing about how parents are tired of hanging out with their kids after quarantine? Talk to an Asian mom, a parent who is non-binary and a Jewish family therapist. Doing a story on the best TV shows to binge watch this August? If all the TV shows only feature white, cisgender people, then that story is not ready for publication.  

During this session, enterprise reporters Romi RuizMarc Ramirez and Jessica Guynn will talk about how they work to build trust with diverse audiences and find story ideas about communities that represent different experiences in the United States. 

More training on Reporting & Writing:

CSV Match and other fuzzy-matching tools

CSV Match is an open-source fuzzy-matching library that uses some of the same algorithms as Google’s Open Refine, only it finds matches between two files rather than within one.

More training on Investigative:

Analyzing batches of PDFs

Learn tools and techniques for working with data buried in PDF files. Python experience is recommended.

More training on Investigative:

Social media production tricks

Learn how to resize images to perfectly fit any format for a social channel using the Sprout Social Landscape image resizer.

Links to tools: 

Sprout Social Landscape image resizer:

Sprout Social image sizing guide:

Spot the Troll:

More training on Social: