Sunday, February 28, 2016

Top Eight Things to Remember As a Correspondent for a Publication

Wazzup Pilipinas!

There are so many publications out there that share the daily news. It is one of the tasks I find fascinating as I admire people who can deliver the stories as precise and comprehensive as possible using their very little time for preparation and research but able to come out with a newsworthy reporting.

I also admire the correspondents who are more than eager enough to come out with their best work especially when the news need to come out as soon as possible to be timely and relevant to the season or occasion.

If you're planning to accept an assignment as a correspondent for a publication, whether it's online or a daily printed news, there are a few important things that you need to remember to be effective.

It is highly important to remember that news is more significant and relevant if it follows certain criteria that will give it a better impact.

Here are some pointers that will prove useful for beginners or newbies who would like to stand out and make some real noise - not just the noise that sensationally controversial "chismis" about showbiz or political personalities make, or the noise that viral or trending scandals or disasters stories make, but the noise that reverberates when you come out with stories that is timely, relevant and the best of all, (for columns and blogs) emotionally-laden and full of personal insights.

Below are my top eight recommendations for effective news or story-telling of correspondents:

1. Prioritize Timeliness - News is best heard, or read, immediately after the actual event took place. It is most useful and beneficial if you can send it as soon as possible to the publication or media outfit for quick posting to its viewers or readers. To be the first one to come out with the latest breaking news is the most highly recommended. If ever you are too busy with bigger news, you should at least come out with a teaser post or announcement so that people will realize you were on top of the story already, and they can watch out for updates from you soon.

2. Remember Relevance - News is also useful if it is well-written with significant facts or information. If there is no access to an official press release, the correspondent(s) should be able to do his or her own research, conduct interviews with the key people involved, or get reliable information from resource persons, to be able to share a better or unique perspective of the story.

3. No Press Release Please - Posting of the official press release is only permissible if you were never there at the actual event. If ever you want to post it because you think it is well written and already contains the complete information (this is the number one excuse ... lol), you must also dedicate a portion where you put your own personal words or inputs, or how you see the story outside their press release. You must remember that not everything that happened, or actually happened, is written on the press release.  It is also ridiculous and downright unappealing if you send the publication a press release after two weeks of waiting for your story.

4. Be Always Creative - You can also add additional visuals like photos, illustrations and videos to make it a lot more interesting and attractive for your readers or viewers. However, please do remember that it should always be accompanied by an actual written story to make it as complete as possible and easily searchable online. Great news is useless if people cannot find and read it.

5. Understand Rights to a Story - When you were sent on assignment to cover an event, you should understand that the story should come out first on the publication or media outfit that sent you. You should never post it on your own publication, or blog, first before sending it to the publication who gave you the opportunity or invitation. If ever you want to write it on your own publication, most media outfits (if they allow you) will prevent you from posting the same story word per word. You should be able to tell the story differently.

6. Common Sense and Delicadeza Please - You should never send the publication a link to a story you wrote on your publication, or blog, and imply that they just copy it from your site. They gave you the opportunity to cover an event, and yet you give them a second-hand output. Worst if you make them follow-up on you for the story. You have the right to take your time or do your own "thing" if there was no formal arrangement, but there should be strict adherence to what's right, moral or ethical. It's difficult to understand what makes most people "tick" but there is always the basic guidelines on how to live the good life without stepping on people.

7. Make An Effort to Update - You should always be the one to update the publication about the status of your work. Notify them if you'll be late or you are too burdened with other tasks. They should know if you will be able to deliver on time or if they have to wait until you are no longer too pre-occupied with personal "excess baggage." You personal struggles in life may be as highly important but the news deserves to be heard, or read, by the people as soon as it comes out. If you inform, then the publication may be able to do something to resolve the situation.

8. No One Was Born to Be the Best - You may not be all-knowing right now because there is really no such person. Life is a continuous process of learning thus every person learns something new everyday. We should never insist that we are above everyone else so we should always be open for criticism and advise. Our work would be better if we were able to collaborate with others in coming out with one of our ever-evolving masterpieces. It is awesome to see how we progress as a writer by reviewing what we have previously written and learning from our mistakes or shortcomings.

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