The Responsible Journalist: An Introduction to News Reporting and Writing

Paperback | October 29, 2014

byJennie Dear, Faron Scott

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The Responsible Journalist: An Introduction to News Reporting and Writing teaches reporting and writing skills from a liberal arts perspective with the understanding that at its heart, journalism is about public service. The text presents journalism as an approach-one that involves carefulthought, ethical decision-making, skepticism, an attention to accuracy and an emphasis on truthfulness.

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The Responsible Journalist: An Introduction to News Reporting and Writing teaches reporting and writing skills from a liberal arts perspective with the understanding that at its heart, journalism is about public service. The text presents journalism as an approach-one that involves carefulthought, ethical decision-making, skepticism, a...

Jennie Dear is a former English professor who is now a freelance writer. Faron Scott is Professor of English and Communications at Fort Lewis College.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 10 × 8 × 0.68 inPublished:October 29, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199732345

ISBN - 13:9780199732340

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Table of Contents

Unit 1: What distinguishes a good journalist?Habits of MindInitiativePersistenceCuriosityConclusion1. The public's championDefining news media in an era of new mediaIf people govern themselves, they need a free pressA bit of historical reviewThe press as watchdogBox 1-1: Bezos buys WapoBox 1-2: The First AmendmentExercises for Chapter 12. How do ethics and critical thinking apply to everyday reporting?JusticeStakeholdersFairness in storiesFairness and diversity across coverageStewardshipTransparencyFreedom and AutonomyFreedom from manipulationConflict of interestHumanenessTruth tellingFactual accuracyContextual truthsA caveatan ethics case study: The facts of the caseWho are the stakeholders?Truth telling: What do we know is true?Factual accuracyIs the autopsy report factually accurate?Do you include the blood test results?Do you include the murderer's accusation?Contextual truthHumaneness-to whom?Freedom: keeping the decision independentJustice: What's fairest to all the stakeholders?Stewardship: stepping back to think about journalism's credibilityMaking the decisionHow the Durango Herald explained its decisionBox 2-1: Facebook co-founder says magazine's profits linked to qualityBox 2-2: Prize-winning journalismBox 2-3: The autopsy storyExercises for Chapter 2Unit 2: Get it in writingHabits of mindFramingWhat's this mean for a working journalist?News valuesDeeper cultural concerns3. How is news language different?Newswriting emphasizes reportsInformation you can verifyInferences may be based on insufficient informationJudgments sometimes shut down thoughtNewswriting usually avoids first-person referencesNewswriting is concise and directFewer modifiersSimple sentence structuresActive voiceNewswriting uses short paragraphsNewswriting tries to use language fairlyNewswriting is consistent: an introduction to AP StyleConclusionExercises for Chapter 34. How do you tell a basic news story?The inverted pyramid: an introductionBegin with what's most important and save the rest for laterA news story exampleAvoid suspense when you're delivering newsYour audience helps determine a story's formInverted pyramid leadsWho, what, when, where-and sometimes how and whyBrevityLeads include the most important detailsDelay precise identificationThe language of inverted pyramid leadsGood leads are like poetryBeyond the leadThe second paragraphThe third paragraphLater paragraphsbox 4-1: literary journalism is the un inverted pyramidbox 4-2: Here's what literary journalism looks likebox 4-3: writing a broadcast leadExercises for Chapter 45. The story changes with the mediumNews stoies in printRadio news stories: an overviewWriting a radio news storyIntroduce sound bites clearlyA story with voice-overA story with sound bitesAdding the visual elementWriting a television or video news storyOnline news stories: an overviewWriting an online news storyOnline news stories use brief summaries or decksOnline news stories link to other informationOnline news stories are more likely to use subheadingsConclusionBox 5-1: a comparison of storytelling across mediaBox 5-2: tips for print writingBox 5-3: tips for radio/audio writingBox 5-4: tips for television/video writingBox 5-5: tips for online writingExercises for Chapter 5Unit 3: Background for your storiesHabits of minda bit of internet history6. A journalist's skeptical researchFiltering for accuracy: Two examplesTime to start searchingSearching the InternetSearch engine insightsWebsites for journalistsWhat does a journalist use from the Web?Website credibilityIdentity and motivationAuthorityAccuracyTimelinessBlogs and aggregator sitesSocial media for journalistsEvaluating social media videosGoing offlineBox 6-1: using social media to report breaking newsExercises for Chapter 67. Plagiarism and copyright infringement: stealing other people's stuffPlagiarismAvoiding plagiarism is a skillCopyright and Fair UseWhat can be copyrighted-and for how long?Some copyrighted information is fair game: The Fair Use DoctrineBox 7-1: Five ways to avoid plagiarizing by mistakeBox 7-2: What's public?Box 7-3: How do you know whether your use is "fair"?Box 7-4: when would a journalist be in danger of violating copyrights?Exercises for Chapter 7Unit 4: Working with sourcesHabits of mindYour position, your judgment and your practiceLenses: A metaphor for worldviewObjective reportingBiased journalismA brief historyCritiquesIncomplete reportingBox h4-1: avoiding false balanceConclusion8. Who gets the spotlight?Beyond convention and convenience in source selectionWhat's news depends on whom you interviewDon't let sources turn you into propagandistsGood practicesConfirm facts with more than one sourceAllow people to defend themselvesReport diversityCovering race and ethnicityBe aware of bias-or its appearance-when you select sourcesDistance yourself from sourcesInterview primary sourcesInterview expert sourcesBut also interview the people affected by an issueAvoid using anonymous sourcesShield laws help-but don't depend on them too muchDon't fabricate sources or quotesFinding SourcesAsk each source for other sourcesGet out on the streetDon't forget your own contactsUse social mediaWhen you're stumped for sources, think creativelyExercises for Chapter 89. How do you conduct an interview?Research ahead of timePlan your questionsContact your sourcesThe interviewIn personBy phoneBy email or textPrivacy-Some information can't go into your storyPrivate factsIntrusionThe Electronic Communications Privacy ActExercises for Chapter 910. How do you report what sources say?Guidelines for quotingParaphrase.In general, don't mark dialect in quotes.Quotation marks mean that what appears between them is what someone actually said.Provide context and explanations before a quote, rather than after.A reporter should not take quotes out of context.Just because a source says something does not mean you have to report it.News stories emphasize the speaker rather than the reporter.News stories use "said" or "says."Follow basic punctuation rules for quotes.Quoting multiple sourcesDefamation: When people say you've liedStandard practiceDefenses against libel suitsTruthFair comment and criticism and rhetorical hyperbolePrivilegeBox 10-01: For broadcast stories, attribution comes first.Box 10-02: How do you make sure you're not defaming someone?Exercises for Chapter 1011. Working a beatSome basic assumptions about beatsProfessional relationships with sourcesResearch before you talk to people.Treat your sources with dignity.Keep a professional distance.A scenario: The education beatWatchdog beatsTips for reporting the crime and police beatsGetting to know the beatGetting beyond snapshots of violenceCampus crime: A special caseA checklist for stories about accidents or crimesEnterprise BeatsCovering businessWorkersBusinesses as neighborsBusiness for consumersWhat do other businesses need to know about each other?Exercises for Chapter 11Unit 5: Storytelling in other formsHabits of mindWhat does it mean to be skeptical?Logical fallaciesFalse generalizationsAnecdotal evidenceFalse dilemmasThe straw manAd hominem attacksBox 05-01: A list of fallacies in arguments12. Leading with something differentWhen to use other kinds of leadsMaking an abstract story concreteSome tips for creating leads that focus on individualsNut graphsClarifying a complicated storySome tips for bringing background to the beginning of a storyCovering an event with several newsworthy issuesProviding a sense of placeSome tips for starting with descriptionFollowing up on breaking newsSome tips for leading with a listEstablishing toneSome tips for communicating a lighter tone in your leadExercises for Chapter 1213. What about other kinds of news stories?Organizing news stories into podsTransitionsStories that explain how-to or whyA problem that needs a solutionA story with a complicated historyStructure and fairnessPlacement of sourcesA question of balanceExercises for Chapter 1314. IMHO: Expressing your opinions as a journalistWhat does commentary add?Providing context and analysisMaking connections for readersWhen are opinions not helpful?When arguments aren't grounded in evidenceWhen too much is based on secondhand informationWhen opinions are based on sloppy journalismWriting in the first personPersonaFeatures of a news blogA news blog sticks to basic journalistic principles.A news blog presents informed opinions.A news blog can provide in-depth information about niche subjects.Writing a news blogBox 14-01: "The invisible primary"-commentary with contextExercises for Chapter 14How storytelling connects to larger forcesHabits of mindthnking about the audienceA bit of historyForces behind the scenesCulture and societyWhat does this mean for a working journalist?Final thoughtsBox H6-01: Audience reactions: A case study

Editorial Reviews

"There really isn't anything out there like this. It combines the practical with the critical in a way that I don't remember seeing very often. The authors pull together a lot of important critical and sociological literature that most basic textbooks ignore (at their peril)." --John Jenks, Dominican University