Here’s why — and how — discipline is one of the 7 habits of successful journalists

  • We must consider the audience in the selection and treatment of stories
  • We must hit regular deadlines
  • We must write within a particular word count or to particular timings
  • We must remain impartial and objective in our reporting (in most genres)
  • Avoid writing about things that interest yourself, or your peers — consider instead what your audience wants and needs to know
  • Make sure you’re not assuming knowledge on the part of the audience that they may not have
  • Stick to the ‘house style’
  • Resist the temptation to ‘draw a conclusion’ (especially at the end of an article)
  • Resist the temptation to inject your thoughts into the article — keep yourself out of the story if possible
  • Don’t let the deadline pass without publishing something!

How discipline helps creativity in journalism

“The bells and whistles are secondary”

The discipline of learning

  • Attending every council meeting for a year
  • Checking in with a contact every month
  • Making a new contact every week
  • Visiting a new place every month
  • Reading a new report, or piece of research, or publication each week
  • Reading a book every month

Attention to detail as a discipline

  • Factual information about the people in a story (job titles, the spelling of their name, age, description)
  • Context (history, background, the question that was asked, etc.)
  • “Colour” (tone, dress, appearance, gestures, environment etc.)

The ultimate “habit”

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Write the @ojblog. I run the MA in Data Journalism and the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism @bcujournalism and wrote @ojhandbook #scrapingforjournos

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Paul Bradshaw

Paul Bradshaw

Write the @ojblog. I run the MA in Data Journalism and the MA in Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism @bcujournalism and wrote @ojhandbook #scrapingforjournos