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Telling the Story : The Convergence of Print, Broadcast and Online Media

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-11-26
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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Covering the basics while keeping pace with the trends in the field, Telling the Story aspiring journalists succeed in an increasingly digital world.

Author Biography

Brian S. Brooks is associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. In addition to coauthoring News Reporting and Writing for Bedford/St. Martin’s, he is coauthor of Telling the Story, Third Edition (2007), Working with Words, Sixth Edition (2006), and The Art of Editing (2009).
Daryl R. Moen is professor of journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and former editor of three daily newspapers. Moen is also coauthor of Telling the Story, Fourth Edition (2010) and Beyond the Inverted Pyramid (1993), and author of Newspaper Layout and Design, Fourth Edition (2000).
Don Ranly, professor emeritus of journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, was formerly director of the magazine sequence at the school for twenty-eight years.   He is coauthor of News Reporting and Writing, Tenth Edition (2011), Telling the Story, Fourth Edition (2010), and Beyond the Inverted Pyramid (1993), and is the author of Publication Editing (1999), and the editor of Principles of American Journalism (1997). He has conducted more than 1,000 writing, editing, and publishing seminars for corporations, associations and organizations, and individual magazine, newspaper, and publishing companies.
George Kennedy, professor emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, is also a coauthor of Telling the Story, Third Edition (2007) and Beyond the Inverted Pyramid (1993), as well as a former managing editor of the Columbia Missourian and a former bureau chief for the Miami Herald.

Table of Contents




The Nature of News


Convergence in Journalism

What News Is

Elements of a Good News Story

How Different Media Present the News

The Rise of Citizen Journalism

The Role of Journalism

Challenges to American Journalism

Principles of Good Journalism

Journalists’ Responsibilities in a Democracy

Accuracy, Fairness and Bias

Accuracy and Fairness


The Issue of Objectivity

What Is Not News

Video: "Convergence and Essential Skills" and "Newspapers Now: Balancing Citizen Journalism and Investigative Reporting."


2 Convergence, Citizen Journalism and Emerging Media

How People Consume News Today

The Impact of Media Fragmentation on Legacy Media

Types of News Audiences

Can Television and the Internet Replace Newspaper Reporting?

Distrust of the Media

Financial Challenges to Legacy Media

Convergence as a Response to Media Fragmentation

Enhanced Web Coverage

Synchronized Media Coverage

Newspapers: The Source of Most News

Embracing Citizen Journalism

The Role of the Public in News Gathering

Problems with Citizen Journalism

New Financial Models for Web-Based Journalism

For-Profit Models

Not-for-Profit Models

Jobs in Journalism Today

Video: "Internet Media Entrepreneurs: Newsy.com," "Newspapers and the Internet: Convergence," and "User Generated Content."




3 Interviewing

Building Trust

Preparing for the Interview

The News Story

The Profile

The Investigative Piece

Broadcast Interviews

Telephone, Email and Skype Interviews

Setting Up the Interview

Preparing Questions

Researching Questions

Phrasing Questions

Interview Approaches

Ensuring Accuracy


Taking Notes


Understanding What You Hear

Asking Follow-Up Questions

Pacing the Interview

Taking Photos or Video

Ending the Interview

What to Quote Directly

Unique Material

Memorable Expressions

Important Quotes by Important People

Quoting Accurately


Correcting Grammar in Quotations

Video: "Filling the News Hole: Video News Releases."


4 Gathering and Verifying Information

Online Sources of Information

Your News Library: The Place to Start

Search Engines

News Sites, Social Media and Content Aggregators

Commercial Database Services

Government Databases

Special-Interest Databases

Evaluating Internet Sources

The Discipline of Verification

Is the Website Credible?

Traditional Sources of Information

The Newspaper Library

Other Traditional Sources

Video: "Computer Assisted Reporting" and "Investigative Reporting Resources."


5 Reporting with Numbers


Percentages and Percentage Change

Averages and Medians


Interest and Compounding



Sales Taxes

Income Taxes

Property Taxes


Budget Basics

Finding Stories in Budget Changes, Trends and Comparisons

Financial Reports

Making Sense of Numbers from Polls

Mixing Numbers and Words

Currency Exchange

Video: "Freedom of Information."




6 The Inverted Pyramid

The Importance of the Inverted-Pyramid Story

Finding the Lead

Asking Questions

Writing the Inverted-Pyramid Lead

Emphasizing Different News Values

"What," "So What" and "What’s Next"

Variations on the Inverted-Pyramid Lead

The "You" Lead

The Immediate-Identification Lead

The Delayed-Identification Lead

The Summary Lead

The Multiple-Element Lead

Leads with Flair

Story Organization

The One-Subject Story

The Memo-Structure Story

The Multiple-Element Story

Checking Accuracy and Attributions

Ensuring Accuracy

How and When to Attribute

Video: "Magazine Specialization Today." 


7 Beyond the Inverted Pyramid

The Techniques of Narration

Vivid Scenes




Chronology Structure

Outlining the Story

The Nut Paragraph and the "To Be Sure"

The Ending

The News Narrative Structure

The Focus Structure

Writing the Lead

Finishing the Setup

Writing the Body

Writing the Ending

Service Journalism

Video: "Narrowcasting in Magazines" and "The Objectivity Myth." 




8 Writing News for Digital Media

The Web as a Unique Media Form

Readers’ Expectations of the Digital Media

Readers Want the News Right Away

Readers Want to Have Their Say

Readers Want Multimedia Variety

Readers Want the News Upfront

Readers Want to Customize Content

The Audience Is International

Structure Is All-Important

Guidelines for Writing for the Web

Think Immediacy

Save Readers Time

Provide Information That’s Quick and Easy to Get

Think Both Verbally and Visually

Cut Copy in Half

Use Lots of Lists and Bullets

Write in Chunks

Use Hyperlinks

Give Readers a Chance to Talk Back

Don’t Forget the Human Touch

Writing with Search Engines in Mind

Writing for Blogs

Wide-Ranging Subject Matter

Professional Standards

Promoting News on Facebook and Twitter

Tomorrow’s Readers

Video: "Going Viral: Political Campaigns and Video" and "Media Effects Research."


9 Writing News for Radio and Television

What Radio and Television Do Best

Criteria for Selecting Radio and Television News


Information Rather Than Explanation

Audio or Visual Impact


Writing Radio and Television News

Characteristics of Radio and Television News Writing

Story Structure

Using Social Media in Radio and Television

Blending Online with On-Air

Guidelines for Using Social Media

Preparing Radio and Television Copy


Names and Titles



Symbols and Numbers

Quotations and Attributions


Video: "Going Visual: Video, Radio, and the Web," "Radio: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow," and "Television Networks Evolve: Cable, Satellite, and Broadband."


10 Writing for Public Relations

The Making of a PR Disaster

The Importance of Writing Skills

Public Relations Writing: A Different Approach

A Range of Interests

Objectivity and Public Relations Writing

Public Relations Writing: The Main Focus

The Message

The Audience

The Media

Public Relations Writing: A Matter of Persuasion

Your Attitude

Credibility and Trust

Writing 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

Approaches to Writing News Releases

Some Final Advice

Video: "Give and Take: Public Relations and Journalism." 




11 Covering a Beat

Beat Reporting in the 21st Century

Principles for Reporters on a Beat

Be Prepared

Be Alert

Be Persistent

Be There

Be Wary

Covering Important Local Beats

Information Is Power

The Budget Is the Blueprint

Distributing Power and Money Is Politics

City and County Government Beats

Subordinate Administrators

Council Members

Pressure Groups

Public Citizens


Education Beat

K–12 Schools

Colleges and Universities

Police Beat

Court System Beat

Court Records

Human Sources

Scientific Beats: Environment, Science and Medicine

Learning the Environment Beat

Finding Stories in Science and Medicine

Dealing with Special Issues

Sports Beat

Looking Beyond the Clichés

Developing Contacts

Digging for the Real Story

Video: "Agenda Setting and Gatekeeping" and "Community Voices: Weekly Newspapers."


12 Speeches, News Conferences and Meetings


Covering Speeches, News Conferences and Meetings

Understanding the Medium

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

Writing the Meeting Story

Video: "What Makes Public Television ‘Public’?"


13 Writing Common Types of Stories

Your Preparation

Preparing for the Crime Story

Preparing for Accident and Fire Stories

Preparing for the Court Story

Writing the Crime Story

Writing Accident and Fire Stories

Writing the Court Story

Avoiding Libelous Statements

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

Other Issues in Crime and Court Reporting

The Free Press/Fair Trial Controversy

Issues of Taste and Ethics

Obituaries and Life Stories

Crafting a Lead

Writing Life Stories

Sources of Information

Cause of Death

Embarrassing Information

Video: "Fake News/Real News."




14 Law

Media Law in the Digital Age

First Amendment Rights


Identifying Libel

Libel Suit Defenses

The Continuing Danger of Libel

Libel and the Internet

Invasion of Privacy


Portraying in a "False Light"

Causing Unwanted Publicity Offensive to a Person of Ordinary Sensibilities

Protection of Sources and Notes

State Shield Laws

Protecting Sources in Federal Courts

Promising Sources Confidentiality

Access to Courts

Copyright and Fair Use

Video: "Bloggers and Legal Rights," "Net Neutrality," and "Shield Laws and Non-Traditional Journalists."


15 Ethics

The Public Perception of Journalism Ethics

Bloggers as Watchdogs

Journalism Codes of Ethics

Three Ethical Philosophies

The Ethics of Duty

The Ethics of Final Ends or Consequences

Situation Ethics: The Ethics of Specific Acts

Resolving Ethical Issues

Ethical Problems for Journalists


Conflicts of Interest

Advertising Pressure

Invasion of Privacy

Withholding Information

Incorrect and Incomplete Information


Twitter Ethics

Video: "Journalism Ethics: What News Is Fit to Print?", "The Money Behind the Media," and "The Power of Images: Amy Goodman on Emmett Till."


Appendix 1 Copy Editing and Proofreading Symbols

Appendix 2 Wire Service Style Summary

Appendix 3 Twenty Common Errors of Grammar and Punctuation


Supplemental Materials

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