1. CHANGING DEFINITIONS OF THE NEWS.
A compact history of the news media. The English and Colonial press. The Federalists and Anti-Federalists, the Abolitionist press, the yellow press. The news in wartime. Changes in politics and the press. Current and future trends in the news. How each medium defines the news today and why.
2. BASIC STRUCTURES FOR MEDIA WRITING.
Basic structures for news story for print, broadcast and public relations. The inverted pyramid. The magic formula. Pyramid problems. Glass shapes. Chronological order. Key subject blocks. Nutgraphs, anecdotes, quote blocks, sound bites and others.
A close look at trouble-spots including noun/pronoun and noun/verb agreement, misplaced modifiers, tense shifts, misused words and phrases, parallel construction problems, clichés, jargon and more.
4. LEADS FOR MEDIA WRITING.
The importance of importance. Types of leads for print and broadcast. Breaking out of the boxes. The six questions.
5. RESEARCH FOR MEDIA WRITING.
Basic research and reporting skills. Sources for research information. Good and bad questions. Databases and their uses and limitations.
6. INTERVIEWING SKILLS FOR MEDIA WRITERS.
PHUFA. Basic interviewing skills for print, broadcast, public relations and the Internet. Daily and non-daily interviewing skills. Phone interviewing skills. The non-verbal aspects of interviewing. Fairness and accuracy. How to use quotes in your copy.
7. REPORTING AND WRITING THE FEATURE STORY.
Defining a feature. News features and independent features. Special reporting needs for various kinds of features. Features for newspapers. Features for magazines. Freelancing and competition.
8. RESEARCH AND WRITING SKILLS FOR OPINION WRITING.
Defining the various kinds of opinion writing. Research for opinion writing. Structures for opinion writing.
9. REPORTING AND WRITING FOR BROADCAST.
Getting the news. Formats. Differences from print. Keep it simple. Dealing with numbers. Blocking and counter-blocking.
10. WRITING FOR THE WEB.
Good journalism is still good journalism. Special reporting and writing needs for web writer. Adapting to the new technology. Current limits and the wide-open future.
11. REPORTING AND WRITING FOR PUBLIC RELATIONS.
Practicing good public relations. Internal and External writing. Feature approaches. Deadlines. Length. Locality. Find the angle. Other needs.
12. RESEARCH AND WRITING FOR ADVERTISING COPYWRITING.
It's not just creativity. Writing for audiences. Stay aware. HUBBA, HUBBA. Motivation. Advertorials and other issues.
13. EDITING AND REVISION FOR MEDIA WRITERS.
Basic techniques for editing and revising your own work for print and broadcast. Advice on how to work with an editor. Get TRICI. Samples of stories from first draft to publication.
14. LEGAL AND ETHICAL CONCERNS.
Freedom of speech and its limitations. Libel. Commercial speech. Broadcast regulations. Ethics. Copyright. Words of warning.
Appendix A: Codes of Ethics.
Ethical codes from organizations including the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the Public Relations Society of America, and others.
Appendix B: Spelling, Punctuation, Capitalization for Journalists.
A guided tour through some of the more troublesome areas of journalism grammar and style. Numerous examples of problems and their solutions. Includes lists of commonly misspelled words, common capitalization problems, and common punctuation problems.
Appendix C: Ready for Anything.
How to build a career in traditional and new media writing. Job skills. Pay scales. Start preparing now. Internships. Job possibilities. Predicting the media's future.