Working with Words A Handbook for Media Writers and Editors

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  • Edition: 9th
  • Format: Spiral Bound
  • Copyright: 2016-09-16
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Emphasizing both journalistic style and writing for different media along with grammar and mechanics, Working with Words helps you develop the editing and writing skills needed to be a successful journalist.

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).
James L. Pinson has taught journalism for about twenty-five years at the Missouri School of Journalism and at Eastern Michigan University,and has addressed various press groups on the subjects of grammar and other editing skills. He has also worked for newspapers in Colorado, Missouri, and Michigan, and has a doctorate in journalism and a master's in creative writing.
Jean Gaddy Wilson leads executives worldwide in creating successful strategies for the future. While on the Missouri School of Journalism faculty, she founded three national journalism organizations: New Directions for News, Journalism and Women's Symposium, and the National Women and Media Collection. She was a founding member of the Council of Presidents, an organization of the leading editorial organizations in newspapers, and of the International Women's Media Foundation. She has served as a Pulitzer Prize Nominating Juror for Journalism and currently serves as a consultant to international organizations.

Table of Contents

Useful Lists at a Glance
Introduction for Students
1  The Basics of Writing for Journalism
 Journalistic Writing Versus Fiction Writing
       A Clarity Checklist
       Write Short Sentences and Paragraphs, and Use Common Words
       Anticipate Readers’ Questions
       Include Specifics
       Explain Numbers and Statistics
       A Correctness Checklist
       Use Correct Grammar, Usage Spelling and Style
       Write to Your Audience and Purpose
       Use the Right Story Formula
       Maintain Objectivity in Your Writing
       Rules of Objective Writing
       Modifiers to be Avoided
 JOURNALISM TIP: Writing for Eighth-Grade Readability
 Web Resources: Writing Help
2  Tight Writing: Less is More
  How to Tighten Your Writing
         Use Fewer Words
         Use Exact Words
         Be Fresh, Not Stale
         What to Tighten, A to Z
         Web Resources: Concise Writing
3 Writing News That’s Fit for Print
  Pick the Best Angle
  Types of News Leads
  Hard-News Leads
         Who Was Involved?
         What Happened?
         When Did It Happen?
         JOURNALISM TIP: Words to Avoid in Attributing Information
        Where Did It Happen?
  Problems with Hard-News Leads
  What Comes After the Hard-News Lead?
  Soft-News Leads
  Soft-News Clichés
  What Comes After the Soft News Lead? 
  Using Paraphrases and Transitions to Build a Story
  Web Resources: Journalism Reviews
4  Writing News for Radio and Television
  Print and Online Versus Radio and TV News
            Use a Conversational Style
            Personalize the News
           Make It Easy to Understand
           Keep It Short
           Keep It Timely
           Make It Clear
  Radio and Television Journalists Must Know Grammar
  Radio and Television Hard-News Leads
            Starting With the Who
           What Happened?
           Points to Remember
  Radio and Television Story Structure
  Radio and Television Style Summary
           Preparing Your Manuscript for Radio
           Preparing Your Manuscript for Television
           Editing and Other Symbols
  Web Resources: Radio and Television
5  Writing for Online Media
 Online Media are Unique
           Be Clear
           Be Correct (And Credible)
           Be Concise
 Writing and Presenting News Online
          SEO: Writing with Search Engines in Mind
          Writing for International Audiences
          Writing for Blogs
          JOURNALISM TIP: Editing Your Own Copy
          Promoting News on Social Media
          Legal and Ethical Concerns
 Web Resources: Online Media
6  Grammar Basics
 Solving Common Problems
         1. Make Sure Your Words Agree and Go Together
         2. Make Sure Your Words are in the Right Order
         3. Use the Right Form of the Word
         4. Use the Right Word
         5. Punctuate According to Sentence Grammar
 Understanding in More Depth
         Using Standard English
         Why Don’t We Write How We Talk?
         Conventional Wisdom
         Competing Grammars and Stylebooks
         When is an Error not an Error?
         Grammar and Confidence
         Communicating Well
         Talking Shop
7  Phrases, Clauses and Sentences
 Solving Common Problems
        1. Beware of Common Sentence Errors
        2. Know the Difference Between Restrictive Versus         
        Nonrestrictive Elements
        JOURNALISM TIP: Punctuating Nonrestrictive Phrases and Clauses
 Understanding in More Depth
        JOURNALISM TIP: Using Different Types of Sentences
8  Subjects and Objects
  Solving Common Problems
           1. Choosing Among That or Which, or Who or Whom
           2. Using Pronouns Ending in Self or Selves
           3. Spelling Singulars, Plurals and Possessives
           4. Choosing the Right Pronoun Case
           5. Making Sure Trademarks Are Capitalized
           JOURNALISM TIP: Using Trademarks
           6. Capitalizing or Not Those Names That Are Neither Clearly Proper Names nor Common Nouns
           7. Making Nouns and Pronouns Possessive Before a                             
  Understanding in More Depth
           Kinds of Subjects
           Kinds of Objects
           Verbal Nouns: Gerunds and Infinitives
           More on Forming Singulars and Plurals of Nourns
           More on Forming Possessives of Nouns
           Most Common Trademarks Used Incorrectly
9    Verbs
  Solving Common Problems
             1. Know when there should or should not be an –s 
             at the end of a verb. 
             2. Don’t confuse the verbs can, may, shall and will with  could, might, would and should, or with each other.
             3. Don’t misuse helping verbs -- the verbs added to a main verb.
             4. Don’t misuse irregular verbs – those that don’t make their past forms by adding –ed.
             5. Normally, avoid passive voice.
             6. Avoid using nouns as verbs editors dislike.
Understanding in More Depth
          What’s the Difference Between a Verb and a Predicate?
          What are Helping Verbs and Main Verbs?
          What are Transitive Verbs and Intransitive Verbs?
          Understanding Verb Tenses 
          Principal Parts of Common Irregular and Other Confusing Verbs
          Sequence of Tenses 
          Keeping Verb Tenses Consistent
          More on Active Voice Versus Passive Voice
         JOURNALISM TIP: When Not to Change Passive Voice to Active
        What is Verb Mood?
         JOURNALISM TIP: Verb Moods
        What are Verbals? 
10    Making the Parts Agree
Solving Common Problems
        1. Make sure each subject and its verb agree in number. 
        JOURNALISM TIP: Groups of People in the News
        2. Make sure each pronoun agree with its antecedent in number, gender and person. 
        3. Make sure each sentence’s words, phrases and clauses have parallel structure.
Understanding in More Depth
       More on Subject-Verb Agreement with Conjunctions
       More on Subject-Verb Agreement with Uncountable Nouns
       More on Subject-Verb Agreement with Other Confusing Nouns
       More on Prepositional Phrases
       More on Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement
       More on Making Verbs Parallel
11    Modifiers and Connecting Words
Solving Common Problems with Modifiers
       1. Use the correct forms of adjectives and adverbs 
       2. Don’t confuse adjectives with adverbs 
       3. Know the difference between coordinate adjectives and compound modifiers 
       4. Know how to use articles correctly. 
       5. Set off sentence adverbs with commas from the reset of the sentence 
       6. Don’t use double negatives
       7. Punctuate interjections correctly 
Solving Common Problems with Connecting Words 
       1. Pay attention to how you use prepositions and whether the preposition is necessary
       2. Make sure that you use the correct conjunction to connect equal or unequal parts of a sentence
Understanding in More Depth
      More About Other Kinds of Modifiers
      More About Participles
      More About Interjections
      More About Correlative Conjunctions 
12  Getting Words in the Right Order
Solving Common Problems
      1. Place modifiers as close as possible to the word they modify
      2. Place adverbs where they are the least confusing for the reader.
Understanding in More Depth
      Understanding Preposition Placement
      Understanding Split Infinitives

13    Finding the Right Word
   JOURNALISM TIP: Conservative Stylebook Rules
   Misused and Confused Words and Phrases
14 Sexism, Racism and Other “isms”
  How the Individual Became the Media
  A Shifting “Center of Gravity”
  Principles for Choosing Appropriate Language
          Don’t Be Ridiculous
          Language Turns to the  Future
          New Players in the New Millennium
          A Brief History of “isms”
          Dealing with Current Reality
          Racism and Religious Bias
          Other Stereotyping
         The Nonbias Rule
         Up to Date or Out of Date
         Dumping Today’s Stereotypes
         Bias-Related Terms
        Web-Resources: Competent Language
15    Punctuation
Solving Common Problems with Commas
        1. Know when always to use a comma 
        2. Know when never to use a comma
        3. Know when possibly to use a comma
Solving Common Problems with Quotations
        1. Know what and how to quote 
        2. Know how to attribute quotations and paraphrases Attribution of Quotations 
        3. Know how to carry quotations across paragraphs 
        4. Know how to handle these miscellaneous issues with quotes 
Solving Common Problems with Punctuating Pairs of Modifiers 
       1. Use the correct conjunction to connect equal or unequal parts of a sentence – a       coordinating one for equal parts, a subordinating one for unequal parts – and punctuate                           them correctly.
       2. Set off conjunctive adverbs with a comma after them.
       3. Know the difference between punctuating coordinate adjectives and compound modifiers.
Understanding in More Depth
       Periods, Exclamation Points and Question Marks 
16   Spelling Relief
Spelling Rules 
       JOURNALISM TIP: Spelling and Your Career 
       The Silent e 
       Other Spelling Rules 
Words Often Misspelled 
Hyphenation as a Spelling Problem 
       Rules for Hyphenation 
       Looking Up Words for Hyphenation 
One Word, Two Words or Hyphenated? 
American Versus British Spelling 
Web Resource: Language Skills 
Appendix: Wire-Service Print and Web Style Summary
        Abbreviations and Acronyms 
        People and Titles
        Proper Nouns 
        Geographic Regions  
        Government and College Terms 
        Religious Terms 
        Cardinal Numbers 
        Numerals With Suffixes 
        Numbers as Words 
        Other Rules for Numbers 
        Social Media and Computer Terms 
Web Resource: Associated Press Style Web Resources: Additional Sources
Copy-Editing Marks
Overcome These Twenty Common Errors

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