As journalists, we sometimes forget that words in our daily vocabulary might not be familiar to readers. The Virginian-Pilot created a plain-language glossary, explaining terms like wire, editorial, exclusive, and more. Having this reference can come in handy when readers have questions, like whether "analysis" is news or opinion.
As journalists, we sometimes forget that words in our daily vocabulary might not be familiar to readers. The Virginian-Pilot created a plain-language glossary, explaining terms like wire, editorial, exclusive, and more. Having this reference can come in handy when readers have questions, like whether “analysis” is news or opinion.
Hashtags can let your Twitter followers know what type of story you're sharing at a glance, helping them to frame their expectations before even landing on your website. The Virginian-Pilot created hashtags to better categorize content on Twitter for their users. They created #VPColumn and #VPEditorial for opinion content, and #VPBreaking for developing stories.
Hashtags can let your Twitter followers know what type of story you’re sharing at a glance, helping them to frame their expectations before even landing on your website. The Virginian-Pilot created hashtags to better categorize content on Twitter for their users. They created #VPColumn and #VPEditorial for opinion content and #VPBreaking for developing stories.
In response to criticism for spending time on light stories — sometimes perceived as frivolous — Coloradoan reporter Erin Udell included an explanation that said: “This is a first-person perspective by reporter Erin Udell. She covers art, entertainment and fun in Fort Collins. She also enjoys answering the occasional silly question. She can be reached at erinudell@coloradoan.com or on Twitter @erinudell.” Doing so explained why this story was being done and cut down on pushback.
By writing "Fact-check" into the headline of stories, the Coloradoan boosted credibility and helped readers know what to expect, both on-site and on social media. Stressing that the story started with reader questions led to several positive comments. One of those commenters said, "thanks for keeping it real, Coloradoan!"
By writing “Fact-check” into the headline of stories, the Coloradoan boosted credibility and helped readers know what to expect, both on-site and on social media. Stressing that the story started with reader questions led to several positive comments. One of those commenters said, “thanks for keeping it real, Coloradoan!”
USA TODAY heard from readers on Facebook that they were not always sure when they were reading news and when they were reading opinion. Editors tried manually adding the word Column to some headlines for Facebook, and they perceived a lower level of confusion as a result. It seemed easier for readers to acknowledge that they were consuming a piece designed to have a certain perspective.

Newsy Trump coverage

Look for chances to tie individual coverage to your organization’s mission. In this case, Newsy didn’t just share a fact check. They used the words “fact check” to make sure the point came across, and they reinforced their core principles.

After receiving a lot of criticism for a published "letter to the editor," the State decided to add an editor's note to the bottom of all letters printed by the news organization. The note reads, "The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State."
After receiving a lot of criticism for a published letter to the editor, The State decided to add an editor’s note to the bottom of all letters printed by the news organization. The note reads, “The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.”
Not being able to tell opinion content from news content is a frustration a lot of news consumers have. And, in some cases, that’s for good reason. Across platforms, news organizations don’t always make it easy. We have to make sure we are labeling our content and using words the public will understand. And the words “editorial” and “op-ed” do not necessarily help our situation. We know what those words mean, but not all users do. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here
Trust Tips 4: Use Direct Language
Cutline, VOSOT, A1 — just because you say it in the newsroom doesn’t mean your audience will understand it. We all know how important it is to use words that help us communicate clearly with our audiences. That’s true for the language we use when reporting on complex topics, and when we talk about our own work. More from this edition can be found here and to receive the tips in your inbox each week click here.