Surfing the Net on Deadline
Staci D. Kramer's Tips for Reporters
& Editors/News Directors
Rule #1: Troubleshoot your
software when you aren't on deadline.
Rule #2: Don't surf on deadline.
Build -- and maintain --
a bookmark file for your beat or specialty.
Update and organize your
bookmarks during downtime.
Organize your comments about
Web sites and other Internet information. Use a PIM (personal information
manager), a database or a third-party application that works with your
Don't be afraid to browse.
You never know where you might find a good story idea.
Try to spend at least 30
minutes a day online at first. A little time now will save a lot of time
Set a time limit when you're
Use newsgroups and mailing
lists to monitor discussions on various subjects and to find sources and
Trust but verify.
Whenever possible, spend
time "lurking" in a newsgroup or on a mailing list before posting messages.
This will save you from embarrassing mistakes.
Check the posting date.
Just because it's new to you doesn't mean it's new.
Search for similar messages
using a search engine like DejaNews -- www.dejanews.com
Learn Netiquette and check
for guidelines specific to a particular mailing list or newsgroup, sometimes
known as FAQs.
Consider creating a second
e-mail address to use for newsgroups and mailing lists.
Check your e-mail at least
twice a day.
Use e-mail to contact potential
sources or to conduct interviews once you know someone and feel confident
dealing with them this way.
Don't rely on e-mail replies
on deadline. Pick up the phone.
Use search engines early
Never rely on one search
If the search engine offers
help use it.
Learn simple query language.
Get an e-mail program with
a filter if you're going to get more than a few messages a day.
Use a news tracker to "catch"
stories of particular interest to you. Use more than one to broaden the
Be adventurous. Be intuitive.
Be cautious. Treat information
from the Internet the same way you would information from any source.
And remember, Ethics in Online
Journalism = Ethics in Journalism.
Some Notes for Editors/News
Suggestions for additional
tips? Want to share success stories? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Set up shared bookmark database
Encourage staffers to practice
their skills between deadlines.
It's ok to have newsroom
Internet specialists but -- at a minimum -- everyone should know the basics.
Include ethics in your newsroom
training and your continuing education.
Set up guidelines for including
urls and other Internet info in articles.
copyright Staci D. Kramer 2000
May be distributed in print with appropriate