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Syracuse Press Club


NYS Open Gov. Cmte's Bob Freeman

Nov 19, 2015, 7 PM

at Syracuse University, Newhouse III, Rm 141

 Follow syrpressclub on Twitter
  • Most of your headline writing tricks don’t work, apart from these two

    Analytics firm Chartbeat has published a new study which finds that most of the conventions for writing catchy digital headlines don’t work very well.

    Author Chris Breaux, a Chartbeat data scientist, summarized results of testing a dozen styles for optimal click-through rates as follows:

    “Use terse, punchy headlines”; “Ask questions”; “Name drop.” None of these properties show much predictive power.

    That’s right, writers: We’ve proven that “5 Ways To Write The Best Headline Ever” isn’t actually that effective.

    Breaux did find one exception.  Headlines using demonstrative adjective like ‘this,’ ‘that’ and ‘these’ had a substantially higher click-through rate than the norm.  Long headlines also did modestly better.

    Breaux writes that demonstrative words can create a bit of clickbait intrigue as in “These simple tricks will leave you speechless.” Even a much simpler specifier like “GOP debate this evening” can be effective. Read more

  • 5 tips for fact-checking datasets

    “Data from the United Nations is being treated as if it were the word of God. I am against that.” 

    Giannina Segnini, an award-winning Costa Rican investigative journalist, doesn’t mince her words. Reached on Skype, she eloquently warns that the craze for data visualization often comes at the expense of basic data verification.


    (Image credits: Tom Woodward on Flickr)

    In a dedicated chapter in the “Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting”, Segnini walks readers through the verification of World Bank datasets. She chose the World Bank because most journalists would consider it a relatively reliable source; yet even in the D.C.-based institution’s spreadsheets she found records that were missing or duplicated. Her hands-on chapter is a must-read not just for investigative journalists, but for fact-checkers too. Read more

  • Ta-Nehisi Coates: Jason Whitlock resembled ‘big-time drug dealer’ with recruiting pitch

    Money and exposure both reportedly figured into a heavy-handed pitch to lure National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates away from The Atlantic to join The Undefeated, ESPN’s so-called “Black Grantland” that began under the leadership of sportswriter Jason Whitlock.

    That’s according to Coates, who last week recounted Whitlock’s attempt to woo him away from the monthly magazine of politics and culture in an interview with Evan Ratliff of the Longform Podcast.

    Coates said he talked with Whitlock on the phone about the possibility of joining ESPN before Whitlock was ousted from The Undefeated. During the conversation, Whitlock offered to triple Coates’ salary at The Atlantic and put him in front of the camera, Coates said:

    We were talking on the phone, and it was like if you were in the hood and some big-time drug dealer rolled up on you and said, ‘I want you to work this package for me.’ That was what his approach was like.

    Read more

Joan Vadeboncoeur


Herald American

Joan E. Vadeboncoeur, went to work at The Post-Standard as a reporter immediately after graduating from Sarah Lawrence College. But since she already had several years experience in theater work, she was a natural choice years later when the job of entertainment writer-editor opened at the Herald-Journal.
Joan, a life resident of the Syracuse area, began working in the box office of Famous Artists Country Playhouse in Fayetteville while still in high school. During summer vacations in college, Joan switched to the Famous Artists Country Playhouse in East Rochester, where she also worked in the box office and as assistant to the producer.

While studying theater at Sarah Lawrence, Joan gained more experience by working in a Broadway producer's office. Her jobs included working on "Midsummer," the play in which Geraldine Page made her Broadway bow. She also appeared in college productions.

After two years at The Post-Standard, Joan moved to the Herald-Journal as a general assignment reporter covering traffic accidents and other mishaps, and writing obituaries. She often rode in ambulances to accident scenes. Soon, her duties expanded as she filled in for vacationing movie and television writers.

Not too much later, Joan was appointed as music writer. Within two years, she became entertainment writer-editor, which included television, music, films, and theater.

Joan, now an entertainment columnist, has received the Syracuse Press Club's Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been honored by the Salt City Center for the Performing Arts and the Contemporary Theatre of Syracuse. She is a former member of Women in Communications. --Joseph A. Porcell
Last Updated ( Monday, 17 November 2008 01:26 )
 "Don’t be deluded into believing that the titular heads of the networks control what appears on their networks. They all have better taste."
--Edward R. Murrow

Wall of Distinction

E.R. Vadeboncoeur

WSYR Radio and TV

Syracuse Journal

Mention the name E.R. Vadeboncoeur and it's his radio news broadcasts and Election Night commentaries that come to mind for many longtime Central New Yorkers. Long forgotten is that "Curly," as he was known to his friends, started out to be a newspaperman.

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