1. Thou shalt always doublecheck names and remember that Smith isn’t always spelled S-m-i-t-h. Or Jane, J-a-n-e.
2. Thou shalt never return from a meeting with the excuse, “Nothing happened!” because if nothing happened that’s news too.
3. Thou shalt never jump to conclusions by saying 1) That’s not a story!; 2) I don’t see the point in doing this story!; 3) This is a Mickey Mouse assignment (remember, there are reporters who actually work the Disney beat!).
4. Thou shalt never scribble notes so messy in my notebook that I have to guess what people said and hope I got it right.
5. Thou shalt avoid using PWN (Parents’ Worst Nightmare) in any of my stories because its usage is a cliché nightmare.
6. Thou shalt think about Alpha-Getti when I write – I need five Ws (When, Who, Where, Why, What) and one H (How) in my bowl of words.
7. Thou shalt remember to file cutlines without having an editor shout, “Hey, Larry, where’s your %$#@! cutline!”
8. Thou shalt remember to do followups on my stories because readers are like movie goers. . . they usually like sequels.
9. Thou shalt banish the deadline excuse, “I left him a voicemail message to call me but he never did!” How often do you return your voicemail messages promptly?
10. Thou shalt not fake it. Before you write for your readers, make sure you understand it. Never be afraid to say, “I don’t understand. Can you explain that?”