StateImpact is a project that sheds light on and breaks news about the impact of policy decisions on people’s lives. We aim to tell those stories in a way that holds government accountable and arms listeners and readers with the kind of news that leads to a better-informed society.
With this comes the responsibility to also hold ourselves accountable–for errors, and for correcting them in a way that is transparent to our audience.
We recommend that stations have a plan to identify errors and to make corrections, both on-air and online. Below are some of our guidelines for StateImpact sites. Continue reading
While the Internet and social media can be invaluable resources in both collecting and distributing information, they also present significant challenges for reporters.
Our advice? Tread carefully and exercise the same healthy skepticism and integrity that you would in any other arena.
Even in your so-called “personal” accounts, stay mindful of your role as a reporter and be wary of any perception of bias that your status updates, Tweets and retweets might suggest. Continue reading
Here they come! It’s time for some lawmakin’.
Some of you have one year of covering the legislature for StateImpact under your belts. For states like Texas, where the legislature convenes every other year, this will be a first spin through. Either way, it should be an interesting ride. Odd-year sessions following an election are when the bulk of state legislative business gets done. And it blows by fast. So be ready!
Here are some ideas on how to be thinking about covering the legislature in a StateImpact sort of way. Continue reading
You all know that StateImpact does great journalism, and that’s in no small part because we have strong ethical guidelines that inform and drive our work.
You can find these guidelines on the NPR Ethics Handbook page. The booklet is an excellent read and can also be really handy for reference whenever you have ethical concerns.
With the November elections quickly approaching, everyone wants in on the game. But before you roll up your sleeves and dig in, take a minute to consider your mission as a StateImpact reporter–to “report on how state issues and policy affect people’s lives.” To help iron out what that means in terms of election coverage, Chris Swope put together a little FAQ for you, below. We hope it is helpful.
Q: What’s the StateImpact mission when it comes to covering elections?
A: It’s the same as when we’re not covering elections. StateImpact explains the impact of state policy on people. Think of our election coverage as explaining the impact of the state policy choices before voters. Continue reading
Comments can be a great tool for generating healthy discussions, but only if they are used correctly. To create an environment that encourages participation, StateImpact’s team will follow these general community policies:
- All comments on the substance of the material or news presented, including critical observations, are welcome. It is best to allow the readers–and the author–to respond to comments where they are posted, in a spirit of openness and transparency.
- Comments will be moderated by the site managers and reporters. As the strongest communities have engaged moderators, reporters are encouraged to jump in and participate in comment threads, directing the conversation, mitigating hostile flare ups, and keeping the discussion moving forward.
- Continue reading
StateImpacters, I know many of you come from a broadcast writing background where your scripts didn’t get publicly published. But now that you are expected to produce clean, error-free copy from the get-go, here is a guide, put together by my friend and former copy editor David Muto, to common style mistakes and how to correct them. Find the main StateImpact style guide in our documentation.
These are the instructions to get the pretty StateImpact look on your Twitter and Facebook pages.
1. Log out.
2. Select “Create a page” link below the “Sign Up” button.
3. Select “Media/News/Publishing” under category.
4. Type “StateImpact FullStateName”
5. Check “I agree to Facebook Pages Terms,” and click “Get Started”
6. Click “I already have a Facebook account,” and fill out the form using your own Facebook account login info.
7. Add this profile image
8. Select ‘Edit Info’ under Page name
- Basic info: Name, founded, city/state.
- About: “A collaboration of local public media and NPR with a focus on XyXy.”
- Description: “StateImpact [State Name] is a collaboration between XySTATION, XySTATION, XySTATION and NPR. Reporters XyXy and XyXy cover state government with a focus on [coverage area]. Read our reports online, and hear us on public radio stations across [state].”
- Add firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone (optional)
9. Manage permissions
- Profanity Blocklist: Medium
10. Your Settings
- Deselect email notification
11. Add email@example.com under “Manage Admins” in the left navigation.
12. Add a post! Important: This is the headline style (‘We’ve Got a Budget Framework’) | By Scott Detrow’). Just double click on the headline to enable you to edit it. Same with story summaries, which should be tightened up. Feel free to add commentary, like “Announcement came from Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati’s Twitter account…”
- Username: StateImpactPA, StateImpactIN, StateImpactFL
- Password: whatever you choose, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Change Settings > Profile
- Add this profile image
- Change name: “StateImpact [full state name]”
- Set location: City, State
- Add SI blog address
- Bio: “StateImpact [full state name] is a collaboration of local public media and @NPR, covering state government with a focus on [XyXy].”
- Save changes
3. Change Settings > Design
- Add this background image
- Check “tile background”
- Change design colors
- Background (1e2b36)
- Text (333333)
- Links (164a7a)
- Sidebar (d6d6d6)
- Sidebar border (8a8a8a)
- Save changes
Below are areas in which our online style will follow or differ from the reliable AP StyleBook. For things that I don’t address here, please refer to AP, or ask with an email.
If you are also coming from a broadcast background like me, you will find all these general rules tedious and annoying. However, we hope you will read through this and refer to it often, so our sites maintain a standard style of awesomeness and clarity. Most notably, remember casing for headlines, which differs from newspapers: Capitalize The First Letter of Each Word in Your Headlines (that aren’t prepositions). And capitalize the first letter of each tag. All the rest of the excitement is after the jump. –Elise