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News Reporting & Writing

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  • Edition: 13th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2019-07-17
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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Supplemental Materials

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News Reporting & Writing teaches the essential reporting and writing skills within the context of today’s digital media landscape. The Missouri Group, including new author, Beverly Horvit, have extensively revised this edition with diverse examples and a focus on the role of technology to give students a strong foundation in the craft and raise awareness of current issues like fake news and censorship. The team focuses on developing the skills journalists actually use and the many careers in which they, and students, could use them—from working in news, to advertising, to public relations. Much of the text has been rewritten and reorganized to introduce a stronger flow of content paired with the most current coverage of today’s news industry.

And now, Achieve for News Reporting and Writing sets the standard for developing student media writing skills through an all-in-one learning platform that combines the e-book, diagnostics, and powerful media writing tools. A diagnostic grammar and AP style quizzing tool and individualized study plans address the basics, while Achieve Writing Tools guides students through drafting their stories, rubric assessment, peer review, reflection, and revision. Fully editable pre-built writing assignments with rubrics keep students’ media writing skills sharp, allowing space for drafting, peer review, reflection and revision: all in one easy-to-use platform.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Nature of News

Journalism and the News
The Role of Journalism
Challenges to American Journalism
Journalists’ Responsibilities in a Democracy
Kinds of Stories
Elements of a Good News Story
Convergence in Journalism
Murky Waters: Debating the Role of Citizen Journalism
Convergence and Essential Skills
Accuracy, Fairness and Bias
ON THE JOB Career Crosses Media Lines
Accuracy and Fairness
Dealing with Bias
The Issue of Objectivity
What Is Not News
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites
Chapter 2: The State of the News Industry
The Problem of Financing the News
The Problem of Technology-Driven Change
ON THE JOB The Lure of New Media
The Credibility Problem
The Fake News Problem: What’s Fake and What’s Not?
How Snapchat Is Fighting Fake News
Student Reporting Lab: Media Literacy
A Solution: Engaging Readers, Listeners and Viewers
A Solution: Embracing, Not Fighting, Citizen Journalism
When Citizen Journalism Fails
Forms of Citizen Journalism
Newspapers Now: Balancing Citizen Journalism and Investigative Reporting
A Solution: New Skills for Jobs in Journalism
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites
Chapter 3: Gathering and Verifying Information

Accurate Information: The Basis of a Good Story
The Discipline of Multiple Sources
ANNOTATED MODEL Integrating Multiple Sources into a Story
The Discipline of Verification
The Objectivity Myth
Online Sources of Information
News Archives: The Place to Start
Search Engines and Wikipedia
A New Generation of War Crimes Investigators Turn to
High-Tech Methods
News Sites, Social Media and Content Aggregators
Commercial Database Services
Government Databases
Special-interest Databases
Custom Databases
Evaluating Digital News Sources
ON THE JOB Use All Available Tools
Traditional Sources of Information
The Traditional Newsroom Library
Other Traditional Sources
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites
Chapter 4: Interviewing
Preparing for the Interview
Interviewing for the News Story
Interviewing for the Profile
ON THE JOB Getting the Tough Interview
Interviewing for the Investigative Story
Radio: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Doing an Audio or a Video Interview
Using the Telephone, Email, Instant Messaging or Skype
for Interviews
Setting Up the Interview
Preparing Questions
Researching Questions
Phrasing Questions
Establishing Rapport
Interview Approaches
Other Practical Considerations
Ensuring Accuracy and Fairness
Using a Recorder
Taking Notes
Verifying Information
Asking Follow-Up Questions
Using Other Techniques
Ending the Interview
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites
Chapter 5: Quotations and Attributions
What to Quote Directly
Unique Material
The Unique Expression
Important Quotes by Important People
ANNOTATED MODEL Using Quotes Effectively
Accuracy and Fairness in Direct Quotations
Quoting from Email, Social Media, the Internet and Chat Rooms
Using Someone Else’s Direct Quotations
Practicing Prepublication Review
ON THE JOB Reinventing a Career
Altering Quotations
Paraphrasing Quotes
Using Partial Quotes
Capturing Dialect or Accent
Mixing and Matching Questions and Answers
Correcting Grammar in Quotes
Removing Redundancies
Deleting Obscenity, Profanity and Vulgarity
Avoiding Made-Up Quotes
Attributing Direct and Indirect Quotes
When to Attribute
ANNOTATED MODEL Using Attributions
How to Attribute
BOX: A Conversation About Punctuation: How to Handle Direct Quotations
Attributing Written Sources
Handling On- and Off-the-Record Information
Problems with Anonymous Sources
Disagreement About Terminology
Background Interviews
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites
Chapter 6: Using News Releases as Sources
The Importance of News Releases
Types of News Releases
Announcement Releases
Filling the News Hole: Video News Releases
ON THE JOB Reading News Releases: Sweat the Small Print
Cause-Promoting Releases
Image-Building Releases
Handling News Releases
Using an Announcement Release
Using a Cause-Promoting Release
Using an Image-Building News Feature
BOX: What If You’re the One Writing the News Release?
Using a News Release as a Starting Point: An Example
Read the News Release Carefully
Check for Accuracy and Fairness
Do Additional Research and Interviews
Get Back to the News Release Contact with Questions
ANNOTATED MODEL Integrating News Release Information
Write the Story
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites
Chapter 7: Reporting with Numbers
Percentages and Percentage Change
Populations, Samples and Margins of Error
Percentage Change and Percentage Points
Averages and Medians
BOX: “Average” Can Mean Different Things to Different People
BOX: When Averages Distort
Interest and Compounding
Sales Taxes
Income Taxes
Property Taxes
ON THE JOB Working with Numbers
Budget Basics
Finding Stories in Budget Changes, Trends and Comparisons
Financial Reports
BOX: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics
Public Opinion Polls
The Margin of Error
BOX: Public Opinion Polls and the 2016 Presidential Election
Poll Information to Share
Caution in Interpreting Polls
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites

Chapter 8: The Inverted Pyramid
The Importance of the Inverted Pyramid Story
Finding the Lead
Writing the Inverted Pyramid Lead
Emphasizing Different News Values
What, So What and What’s Next
ANNOTATED MODEL A Sample Inverted Pyramid Story
Variations on the Inverted Pyramid Lead
The “You” Lead
The Immediate-Identification Lead
The Delayed-Identification Lead
The Summary Lead
The Multiple-Element Lead
ON THE JOB Advice to a Beginning Journalist
Danger Signals
Leads with Flair
Story Organization
The One-Subject Story
The Memo-Structure Story
The Multiple-Element Story
ANNOTATED MODEL A Single-Subject Inverted Pyramid Story
ANNOTATED MODEL A Memo-Structure Story
Writing a Story Across Media Platforms
Breaking-News Tweets
ANNOTATED MODEL The Classic Inverted Pyramid Story
Initial Online Story
Full Story with Ongoing Updates
Checking Accuracy
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites
Chapter 9: Writing to Be Read
Good Writing Begins with Good Reporting
Community Voices: Weekly Newspapers
ON THE JOB Setting the Hook in the Opening
Accurate, Specific Details
Show, Don’t Just Tell
Use Words Precisely
Decide on the Order of Elements
Select the Proper Sentence Structure
Use the Precise Conjunction
Use Transitions
ANNOTATED MODEL Using Transitions
Conciseness and Simplicity
Be Concise
Keep It Simple
ANNOTATED MODEL Editing for Conciseness
Correct and Effective Language
Figures of Speech
Careful Word Choice
Bias-Free Language
Correct Grammar and Punctuation
The Tools of Narration
Sense of Person
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites

Chapter 10: Alternatives to the Inverted Pyramid
Where to Start
A Sample Outline
The Nut Paragraph, Foreshadowing and the “To Be Sure”
The Ending
News Narrative
News Narrative with News Emphasis
News Narrative with Narrative Emphasis
ANNOTATED MODEL News Narrative with News Emphasis
Focus Structure
ANNOTATED MODEL News Narrative with Narrative Emphasis
Writing the Lead
Writing the Setup
Narrowcasting in Magazines
BOX: Types of Journalistic Writing
Writing the Body
Writing the Ending
ON THE JOB Know Where You Are Going
Service Journalism
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites
Chapter 11: Writing for Digital Media
The Web as a Unique Media Form
Readers’ Expectations of Digital Media
Readers Want the News Right Away
Going Viral: Political Campaigns and Videos
Readers Want to Have Their Say
Readers Want Multimedia Variety
Readers Want the News Up Front
Readers Want to Customize Content
The Audience Is International
Structure Is All-Important: Layering and Chunking
BOX: A Case Study: CNN Covers a Big Story
ANNOTATED MODEL Layering Content on the Web
Guidelines for Writing and Designing for the Web
Think Immediacy
Save Readers Time
Provide Information That’s Quick and Easy to Get
Think Both Verbally and Visually
Cut Your Copy
Use Lots of Lists and Bullets
Write in Chunks
BOX: Producing Video for the Web
Use Links
Give Readers a Chance to Talk Back
Writing with Search Engines in Mind
Writing for Blogs
Wide-Ranging Subject Matter
Professional Standards in Blogs
Net Neutrality
The Role of Social Media
Verifying Information
Reaching Readers
Writing Effectively and Correctly
Benefiting as a Journalist
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites

Chapter 12: Writing News for Radio and Television
What Radio and Television Do Best
Going Visual: Video, Radio and the Web
Criteria for Selecting Radio and Television News
Information Rather Than Explanation
Audio or Visual Impact
Emphasis on People
Writing Radio and Television News
Characteristics of Radio and Television News Writing
BOX: Checklist for Writing Radio and Television News
Conversational style
ANNOTATED MODEL Use of Verb Tenses in a TV Story
Story Structure
Writing the Radio and Television Lead
Writing Lead-Ins and Wrap-Ups
Writing to the Video
BOX: Finding the Visuals for TV News
ON THE JOB Successful Reporting Means Watching the Clock
Using Social Media in Radio and Television
Blending Online with On-Air
Television Networks Evolve: Cable, Satellite, Broadband
Guidelines for Using Social Media
ON THE JOB Be Ready to Meet the Challenge
Preparing Radio and Television News Copy
Names and Titles
Symbols and Numbers
Quotations and Attributions
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites

Chapter 13: Covering a Beat

The Importance of Beat Reporting
Agenda Setting and Gatekeeping
Principles for Reporters on a Beat
Be Prepared
Be Alert
ON THE JOB Forming an Understanding of Your Beat
Be Persistent
Be Present
Be Wary
Beat Reporting Across Media Platforms
The Benefits and Challenges of Reporting Across Platforms
ANNOTATED MODEL A Crime Story Across Media Platforms
BOX: Writing Professional Tweets
Using Social Media to Find Sources and Audiences
Newspapers and the Internet: Convergence
Covering the Most Important Local Beats
City and County Government
The Schools
BOX: Writing for Readers
Higher Education
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites

Chapter 14: Speeches, News Conferences and Meetings
What Makes Public Television “Public”?
Distinguishing among Speeches, News Conferences and Meetings
Getting Ready to Cover the Story
Preparing for the Speech Story
Preparing for the News Conference Story
Preparing for the Meeting Story
Covering Speeches, News Conferences and Meetings
The Medium Matters Less these Days
Getting the Content Correct
Describing the Participants
Being Observant
Arriving, Positioning Yourself and Staying On
Structuring and Writing Your Story
Writing the Speech Story
Writing the News Conference Story
ANNOTATED MODEL Analyzing a Speech Story
Writing the Meeting Story
ON THE JOB Reporting in the Era of Social Media
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites
Chapter 15: Other Types of Local Stories
Your Preparation
Preparing for the Crime Story
Preparing for Accident and Fire Stories
Preparing for the Court Story
Writing the Story
The Crime Story
Accident and Fire Stories
ANNOTATED MODEL Comparison of a Breaking News Story and a Follow-Up Story
The Court Story
Avoiding libelous statements
ON THE JOB “Every Story Is Important”
Types of Courts and Cases
Reporting a Case Step-by-Step: An Example
A Breaking-News Tweet
A Typical First Story
Follow-Up Story: First Court Appearance
Follow-Up Story: Preliminary Hearing
Follow-Up Story: Arraignment
Follow-Up Story: First Day of the Trial
Follow-Up Story: Trial Testimony
Follow-Up Story: Verdict
Sentencing and Appeals
Other Issues in Crime and Court Reporting
The Free Press/Fair Trial Controversy
Gag Orders and Closed Trials
Covering Sex Crimes
Press-Bar Guidelines
Cameras in the Courtroom
Fake News/Real News: A Fine Line
Coverage of Minority Groups
Crime and Social Media
Issues of Taste and Ethics
Obituaries and Life Stories
Crafting a Lead
Building the Story
Writing Life Stories
Sources of Information
Cause of Death
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites

Chapter 16: Business and Consumer News
The Importance of Business Journalism
The Money Behind the Media
Specialized Business News
Global Reach
A Wide Range of Topics
How to Report Business Stories
Finding the “So What” and Avoiding Jargon
Putting Sources at Ease
Watching Out for Biases and Conflicts of Interest
ON THE JOB Learning to Be Nimble and Be First with a Story
Where to Find Business Stories
Records and Reports
BOX: Publicly Held Company SEC Filings: Essential to Business Reporters
Human Sources
Announcements and Meetings
Reporter Enterprise
Looking at the Numbers
Covering Consumer News
Where to Find Consumer News
How to Report Consumer Stories
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites

Chapter 17: Investigative and Data-Driven Reporting
Investigative Reporting: An American Tradition
Investigative Reporting Resources
The Process
Beginning the Investigation
Carrying Out the Investigation
Getting It Right
Writing the Story
ON THE JOB Getting Visual for Investigations
Planning the Multimedia Aspects of the Story or Series
The Sources
Human Sources
Written Sources
Public records
ON THE JOB Driving Stories with Data
Shield Laws and Nontraditional Journalists
BOX: “Spotlight” on Investigative Reporting Methods
The Power of Images: Amy Goodman on Emmett Till
Computer-Assisted Reporting
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites

Chapter 18: Public Relations
Public Relations Skills
The News Release
Defining Public Relations
A Range of Interests
Objectivity and Public Relations Writing
Fake News?
The Main Focus of Public Relations Writing
The Message
The Audience
The Media
ON THE JOB A PR Storyteller and Story Miner
ON THE JOB Building Authentic Relationships
Persuasive Writing
Your Attitude
Credibility and Trust
BOX: Six Alternatives to Sending a News Release
News Releases That Get Attention
Know What News Is and How to Write It
Know the Structure and Operations of Newsrooms
Know the People in the News Media and the Jobs They Hold
Know the Style of Writing That Fits the Medium
Know How to Distribute Information Online
Digital News Releases
Some Final Advice
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites

Chapter 19: Media Law

First Amendment Theory: The “Why”
Freedom from Prior Restraint
Fair Comment and Criticism
Social Media and Other Cautions about Defamation
ON THE JOB The Keys to Avoiding Libel
Invasion of Privacy
False Light
Private Facts
Other Newsgathering Issues
Public Records
Bloggers and Legal Rights
Newsgathering and Defining Who a Journalist Is
Journalists and the Judiciary
Final Thoughts
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites
Chapter 20: Ethics
Journalism Ethics: What News Is Fit to Print?
Journalism Codes of Ethics
The Public Perception of Journalism Ethics
Ethical Philosophies to Consider
The Ethics of Duty
The Ethics of Final Ends or Consequences
The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number
ON THE JOB Develop Your Ability to Identify Ethical Situations
Older Philosophies: The Golden Rule and the Golden Mean
Resolving Ethical Issues
Ethical Problems for Journalists
BOX: Conditions Justifying the Use of Deceit by Journalists
Conflicts of Interest
ON THE JOB What to Do When Rumors Keep Swirling
Invasion of Privacy
Withholding Information
Incorrect and Incomplete Information
BOX: Beware of Plagiarism!
Social Media Ethics
Suggested Readings
Suggested Websites

Appendix 1: 20 Common Errors of Grammar and Punctuation
Appendix 2: Wire-Service Style Summary
Appendix 3: Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics
Annotated Models

Supplemental Materials

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