These are from a file I've kept for myself over the years. There are many similar lists out there, and recently I ran across an excellent one from Dale Maharidge, a Pulitzer winner and professor at Columbia University. My favorite from his list: "Run, don't walk. No pedestrian journalists."
1. Go see people in person. You'll be amazed what they'll tell you. If a conversation lags, just stay silent.
2. Ask the same question of different people. You will have to ask some people more than once.
3. Before you write, ask yourself: Am I comfortable with this being written in a history book? Be particularly cautious with words such as never, always, fault, guilty, etc.
4. Getting a bunch of facts is great. But you must answer the question on everybody’s lips. It is often the most difficult question to ask.
5. Get as close as you can. This is a standing order for photographers, but it's good advice for writers, too. Push at boundaries set by those in power, but be polite. Go see places in person, as well as people.
6. Make yourself hard to lie to. Read anything you can to educate yourself on subjects you cover. Many of the questions you ask, you should already know the answer, or at least have an inkling.
7. Don't assume things. Take this to the extreme. Re-examine facts from time to time.
8. File lots of open records requests. So many that you forget about some of them until the response shows up in the mail.
9. Experimenting with your writing is fine. But the reader must come with you.
10. People don’t want to hear “That’s not my job.” They don’t respect it.
11. Mistakes are to be avoided, but never corrections. If you're wrong, be certain you're wrong, then say so immediately. Push back against editors who don't want to run corrections. Your name is, by far, your most important commodity.
12. When you’re writing about money and financing, ask about interest. The true cost of things is often much higher than the first number people give you.
13. If you run a picture of a covered bridge, print directions to it. Reporting isn't just "look what we found." You must show the reader what they can find.
14. Show, don’t tell. "Dimly lit" is fine, but "lit by a single bulb" is better.
15. Follow the money. There are so many databases out there mapping the flows of government contracts and political donations. Familiarize yourself with them.
16. If you’re the boss you need to be the problem solver.
17. Take a little time each week to think about the big picture.
18. You want to be criticized by idiots on both sides.
19. Don’t be impressed by power. Or yourself.
20. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, look stupid, get laughed at or get yelled at.
21. You are not out to make friends with people. Writing honestly about others will make you feel terrible some times.
22. You are in the room because of the people’s right to know, not because of you.
23. Never lie in print. Do not plagiarize. Do not assume. Do not add drama, not even with the tone of your writing. The truth has enough drama on its own.
24. Lead with the most interesting thing, and only the most interesting thing.
25. Don't assume leaders are smart, or that journalists at larger papers have things covered. Just because everyone's on one road does not mean it's the only way to get there
26. Never turn down information.
27. Never trust a quorum.