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Specifically, yes or no?

It’s hard to prepare for the artful dodge of politicians, I suppose, with anything other than practice. I’m hopeful that the experience of being a panelist at the Missouri Press Association’s gubernatorial forum last Friday, combined with my current studies of public policy, will prepare me to craft questions that require more specific responses than I got last week.

I think the format presented part of the challenge to specificity. At first, I confess, I was relieved that there would be no time for follow-up questions. That took a bit of pressure off, as I was nervous to “perform” so publicly. By the end, I decided I would have preferred the risk.

Don’t be boring! Crafting stories from data

The Pithy Award for this year’s Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference — wrapping up today in St. Louis — surely belongs to Tony DeBarros, Ron Nixon and Ben Welsh. Their presentations for Friday’s “Making Sure You Tell a Story” panel, in rapid succession, covered ground from story craft to news strategy to robotics, and still managed to present a cohesive message: elevate your reporting.

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