Think first, before going to the web.Here’s some more tips before you start writing the story.
What do you search for and where might you find it? Are you searching for simple facts, backgrounds or any other information that can develop your story? Should you google, or can you find the information on a specific website you already know? Do you find it from the internet, or better somewhere else?
Always monitor other news sites, both local and international, and also other web resources.
Choose right search words.
Try different Google search options – sometimes web, sometimes news, sometimes “all web”, sometimes only Tanzanian pages, or only Swahili language pages. You can also narrow your search by date, for last year, last month, last week or the last 24 hours only.
Open pages in a new tab. While the new pages are opening, you can continue reading the original page.
Add to favourites, or bookmarks. Also open new files for your favourites, or bookmarks. Then you will easier find the stories when you want to come back to them.
Follow the links in the stories you read.
Go to original sources.
Don’t always read everything, but scan for what is of your interest.
Don’t ever copy-paste! That’s plagiarism.
Print if necessary. Read as homework, underline.
Also make notes to your notebook and save drafts to a USB flash.
Structure your story in your mind and on paper.When you’re about to publish:
Decide what is relevant for your narrative.
Write simple with own words.
Quote when necessary.
Understand what you write (you are there to make things understandable for your audience).
Add details for human interest.
Provide links to original sources (if you publish online).Some general good advice for producing good investigative stories:
Always also think about headline, visual outlook, quotes, images, graphics etc.
Spend much more time on the investigation than on the actual writing.
Plan your story into narrative chunks.
Also plan how you use your time
- for research
- for writing
- for editing your text
- for checking facts
- and for delivering the final story.