Reporting & Writing

The heart and soul of what we do is the written word. Behind every word is a source, a question, an answer and context. Learn how to find the story and communicate it in beautiful prose.

See how to make the most out of every meeting, including a better attack on print and digital, and a bona fide roster of enterprise stories in the future.

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.

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  • 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.

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  • Improving our relationship with readers

    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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Reporting on the Census

    How to be prepared for the huge release of Census data due in mid-August.

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  • Backgrounding a business

    How to search for proxies and tools for covering business, non-profits and the economy overall.

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  • 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.

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

    Enterprise reporters Romi Ruiz, Marc Ramirez and Jessica Guynn 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.

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  • Basic databases in Google Flourish and other tools

    A few easy tools to help you show your work: Google Flourish, Airtable and Tableizer.

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  • Advanced fact-checking for reporters

    Fact-checking images, video and verifying facts.

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  • The best data on education

    What education data sets out there, and what stories can they help us tell?

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  • Advanced search techniques for reporters

    Google Advanced Search, search operators, deep searching a government website with a lousy search tool, Google Dataset Search, Google Scholar. Data sources

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  • Google Earth Suite

    We explore three free tools that will help you visualize stories in a whole new way.

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  • What do you mean, it’s “statistically significant?”

    Advanced math for journalists.

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  • The best data about inequality

    What are the best datasets out there and what stories can they tell?

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  • Investigative/data skills series: Data visualization using DataWrapper

    In part I of our two-part series, “Data visualization for everyone,” we explore DataWrapper — an easy but powerful tool available to journalists across Gannett.

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  • Finding diverse expert sources

    This session will show you how to use expert databases to find vetted sources, what to look for with “faux experts” and how to follow experts when they publish.

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  • Fact-Checking IV: Fact-Checking Videos

    Was the video doctored? How can we see when and where a video was first published? We’ll explore how with Watch Frame-by-Frame and Amnesty International’s YouTube Dataviewer.

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  • Fact-Checking III: Put Your Photo Fact-Checking Skills to the Test

    We’ll give you three photos to fact-check with context shared (for real) on social media about each photo. Your job is to reverse image search each photo to see if the context is accurate or if the photo has been misrepresented.

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  • Fact-Checking II: Fact-Checking Photos

    How can we see when and where a photo was first published? We’ll explore how with Google Image Search, TinEye and FotoForensics.

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  • Fact-Checking I: Basic Fact-Checking Tools

    Introduction to basic tools like Google Fact Check Explorer, Google Earth, the Verification Handbook and First Draft News resources.

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  • Google Public Data Explorer

    The Google Public Data Explorer is linked to reliable datasets that can help you build charts in minutes.

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  • Google basic search tools

    We’ll cover all kinds of search tips and tricks in this video. Make sure you have Google.com open as well as the search operators handout linked off this page.

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  • Data scraping with Google Sheets and Tabula

    In this training video and hands-on exercises, you’ll learn how to scrape data tables out of web pages.

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  • Intro to mapchecking.com

    Do you need to estimate a crowd size at a large outdoor event such as a protest, parade, concert or other ticketless event? Then MapChecking.com is the tool for you.

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  • Scraping online databases with Google Sheets

    An accessible way for anyone to quickly capture data that would otherwise require hundreds of hours at the keyboard to query.

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  • How to pry public records from a reluctant agency

    Government databases are public records, yet most agencies treat records requests for data as something exotic and fraught with challenges. Anticipate the objections and defeat them for the win.

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  • Hands-on with fast.ai

    Automatically sort text or images with machine-learning. Got too much text to read, or too many images to dig through? Make the computer do it, by teaching by example.

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  • Google Earth Engine Timelapse

    Google Earth Engine Timelapse features 37 years (1984-2020) of satellite imagery over a given area on Earth.

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  • Unlocking the power of Excel pivot tables

    Slice and dice data to to organize your reporting, find patterns and reveal better stories.

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  • Data visualization introduction

    Visualizations can help make a complex story simpler. Play with simple data visualization tools, learn how to automatically import data into a map, and explore the elegant templates of Flourish.

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  • Introduction to using data in your reporting

    An overview of the key data analysis tools and techniques used to produce investigative stories, with examples of stories that were made possible with these tools.

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  • Backgrounding like a boss: Reporting on people and companies with free tools

    Even great reporters can get tricked by fake names or sketchy backgrounds. We’ll walk through some websites and strategies you can use to create a routine and spot potential red flags before you get burned.

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  • Advanced Search: Power tools for search, research and analysis

    See what users in your area are searching and discover story ideas on Google Trends. Explore Backlight, an AI tool for parsing massive amounts of documents.

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  • Verification tools

    Bad information is dangerous, especially in uncertain times. Learn how to verify images and video, investigate social media posts, and identify misinformation with open-source intelligence tools.

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  • Building a public records mindset

    A discussion on developing a documents state of mind — the key to doing solid watchdog work on a beat.

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  • Safely reporting from protests and other tense events

    These are stressful times. Being out in the world as a journalist carries an element of risk. But a world without engaged journalists watching over it is risky, too. Our aim is to identify as many risks as we can and take steps to reduce them, prepare for them, and neutralize them if they do arise.

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  • How editors and managers can help keep reporters and photographers safe during protests

    Guidance for managers, starting with planning before a charged event, to communicating and adapting as conditions change to after-action debriefs.

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  • Q&A for journalists on personal safety and legal rights at protests

    Advice from front-line journalists, lawyers, and behind-the-scenes personal safety experts on how to cover unrest while maintaining your Constitutional rights and your personal safety.

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  • Earning trust in your election coverage

    Learn how to defend your coverage, explain it, and demonstrate to your audience why you’re a credible source.

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  • Understanding our target audiences

    What are “Family Forward” and “Know the Score,” and why are they so key to unlocking potential subscriber growth? This first in a series of dissecting our total potential local readership will delve into the content these two groups say are most likely to win their business.

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  • Accuracy, depth and respect: What to know when reporting on trans people and their stories

    Language is powerful. How we use terms, categories and concepts in our coverage matter a lot — especially to people who often been denied control over the language used to describe them.

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  • 9 Tips for Covering Election Misinformation

    Here are concrete, simple steps journalists can take to fight misinformation, avoid confusion and add context.

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  • Gannett homepage editors ran hundreds of headline A/B tests. Here’s what we’ve learned.

    Unlike SEO, which is about attracting initial impressions, these tips optimize for human interest in places you already have guaranteed impressions (homepage, Facebook, Twitter, etc).

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  • 9 remote interviewing tips for journalists

    From the technical to the legal, how to make sure you’re covered when you can’t meet a source face-to-face.

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  • FOUNDATIONS: Better meeting coverage

    This session will include proactive tactics to keep meeting coverage relevant.

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  • FOUNDATIONS: Better interview techniques

    This session will walk through interviewing techniques, and help you make sure you get key questions answered.

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  • FOUNDATIONS: Writing better ledes

    This is a comprehensive look at ledes and what makes them jump. Plus, how can we take your story and start preparing for a follow-up?

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  • Fault Lines: diversity, equity and inclusion

    The Maynard Insitute, backed by a grant from the Knight Foundation, will help our journalists see where coverage could improve across socioeconomic status, geography, race, gender and other fault lines.

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  • Find your shark (high interest topics in your community)

    When a fatal shark attack happened at a local beach, the Cape Cod Times was ready. Find out how the paper maximized the moment with preparation that began years earlier.

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  • Coronavirus style & standards

    Guidelines, standards, and resources for reporting on the Coronavirus.

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  • 50 enterprise ideas in 50 minutes

    You need ideas. We’ve got them. National News Editor Matt Leclercq and Tim Schmitt walk you through a fast-paced session sure to stir ideas.

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  • Audience growth (for reporters)

    Here are five things reporters can do to increase their own traffic.

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  • Advanced backgrounding of people and companies

    From Investigative Reporters and Editors, here’s how to build a deep well of background to inform your reporting and writing.

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  • Developing an evergreen plan

    What is evergreen, and why should you care? This webinar answers questions on how to develop an evergreen content strategy for your newspaper, and why.

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  • Reporting on farm bankruptcies in your own backyard

    Using a database created by Sky Chadde, the Gannett Agriculture Data Fellow at the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, you’ll be able to localize the impact of these bankruptcies and identify trends in your community.

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  • #DoJournalismWithImpact (for digital editors)

    Got a major project planned? Why not use Architect, the new external article template from GateHouse Media? Program developer Tyson Bird touches on how this tool can be used most effectively and shows examples of the template in action.

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  • #DoJournalismWithImpact (for reporters)

    Hold on to your hats, we throw 30 great story ideas out in 15 minutes. Will include links to stories.

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  • Google: Enhanced search

    Maggie Farley, a former Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent, is now working with Google News Initiative to help journalism thrive in the digital age. In this video, she discusses how to use enhanced search features.

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  • Google: Geo and mapping

    Maggie Farley, a former Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent who now works with Google News Initiative, covers Geo and Mapping.

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  • Exploring Google Trends

    Maggie Farley, a former Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent, is now working with Google News Initiative to help journalism thrive in the digital age. This video covers Google Trends.

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  • Sports for specific audiences

    In this session, we talk with sports leaders and reporters to discuss how ATM audiences fit into sports, and offer specific examples for content changes.

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  • Using CrowdTangle

    Amber Burgess of CrowdTangle focuses on using the tool for newsgathering and performance measurement on social.

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  • Mobile apps for journalists

    What are must-have mobile apps to help them do their jobs? Learn about the faves of reporters who cover everything from hurricanes to car accidents.

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  • Google: Verification

    In this webinar, Maggie Farley, a former Los Angeles Times foreign correspondent, discusses verification.

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  • Trauma: Ethics and practices for reporting on traumatized individuals and communities

    This addresses ethical and craft issues involved in reporting on traumatized individuals and communities. The training discusses best practices in coverage.

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  • SEO for editors

    Discover what SEO expert David Stone is seeing in Google, and how you can drive your newsroom to produce more SEO-friendly content.

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  • Identifying and supporting trauma among fellow journalists

    A newsroom-wide briefing and discussion on trauma and journalism, introducing best practices in coverage and the basics of self-care and collegial support.

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  • Don’t forget social (for reporters)

    Reporters need to be where their audience is on social media. Ensure you are active on the right social platforms so you’re prioritizing your time to attract your readers.

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  • Journalism from your phone

    Sarah Self-Welbeck from the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal shows you tips and tricks on recording and editing audio and video, taking the best photos and time-saving tools that make journalism from your cell phone possible and productive.

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  • FOUNDATIONS: Sources are the key

    This session will cover diversifying sources and why it’s important, how to approach the people you need to know on your beat, and how to build mutually rewarding connections with sources.

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  • What is Storyful and how can you use it?

    A discussion of Storyful and how to put it to use in your newsroom.

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  • Investigating the internet

    This workshop uses case studies of BuzzFeed News investigations into misinformation and ad fraud, as well as tips and tutorials, to equip journalists with the basic skills they need to incorporate this data into their work.

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  • Advanced search techniques

    This primer on Google search includes tips for effective image searches.

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  • Black women, politics, culture, society, trauma and healing

    Nichelle Smith, Dr. Aisha Lowe and Kimberly Melton joined LIVE with Dr. AMC & Friends for a thoughtful roundtable discussion.

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  • 50 tools for writing well with Roy Peter Clark

    Organized into four sections, “Nuts and Bolts,” “Special Effects,” “Blueprints for Stories,” and “Useful Habits,” this series is infused with more than 200 examples from journalism and literature.

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  • Tips for grant-writing and partnerships

    Wondering what you can do to receive newsroom grants or work with ProPublica and other nonprofits? We have tips from people who’ve been successful and those who’ve worked on the receiving end of the process.

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  • Discovering social content that strengthens your newsroom’s reporting

    David Clinch, global strategic partnerships and training coordinator with Storyful, shares tips and best practices for journalists as they discover social media content online that is relevant to their reporting.

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