Sharing stories while begging for bread

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Is there ever a situation when money should change hands after an interview?

Compensating— and conversely, accepting gifts from— your subjects is almost universally regarded as a major no-no in the world of journalism. Journalists should not have to be beholden to their subjects and obligated to paint them favorably, and neither should they be tied only to the subjects who can pay in order to be interviewed. By the same token, journalists paying subjects for interviews undermines the (ideally) egalitarian nature of news coverage, whereby subjects freely consent to sharing their stories with a journalist without slapping a price tag on their words. For most journalistic subjects, their time and their stories can be freely given— albeit sometimes begrudgingly— and the notion of payment need not even cross the mind of either party. But this is not always the case.

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Backpack journalism on a budget

Producing a story is generally a team effort, but some journalists may choose to fly solo. A “backpack journalist” is, in the words of Poynter’s Michelle Michael, “tasked with producing a video [or] story from A to Z all by themselves.” That includes researching, interviewing, and producing all the elements necessary for a professional, polished piece of journalism.

Of course, the most important attribute of any backpack journalist is determination, grit, and the willingness to work really hard for sometimes minimal rewards. But that being said, a lot of technology exists today that can make your life a lot easier.

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Instead of pointing fingers, let’s recognize and navigate biased news

There’s a good chance you’ve seen this Venn Diagram floating around the internet. It offers a handy guide to navigating various news outlets and their patterns of bias. Take a look and see where your favorite news outlet falls.

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Did this chart treat your favorite news outlet fairly? If you’re a fan of The Blaze or Occupy Democrats, you may be a bit disappointed— or even angry. You may even protest, “But they’re the only ones that actually tell the truth!”

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The art of journalism

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When most people hear the word “data,” they’re probably transported back to high school statistics class, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Many news outlets on the cutting edge of journalism have figured out how to present data and information in a way that is not only visually interesting, but even beautiful.

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Does Pro-Life mean Anti-Rights? The news would have you think so

One thing I learned in journalism school is that you should use a person or group’s preferred terms when writing about them.

For the record, “Anti-abortion activists,” “Abortion foes,” and especially “Abortion rights opponents” are not preferred terms.

Imagine if abolitionists had been labeled “slaveholders’ rights opponents.” Imagine if civil rights marchers had been referred to as “segregationist rights opponents.”

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