MediaWriting: Print, Broadcast, and Public Relations / Edition 1

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Overview

This exciting new text is a comprehensive introduction to writing fundamentals for tomorrow's media practitioners. Chapters on print, broadcasting and public relations writing go beyond "how to" and explain why decisions are made as they are. Basic concepts are outlined in each chapter and then students are asked to apply these concepts to real-life situations through specific writing exercises. With a unique focus on how new technology is impacting the field, Media Writing develops the professional skills and attitudes that future reporters, broadcasters and public relations professionals need to be effective and successful writers for the media.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321011374
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 10/8/1999
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 373
  • Product dimensions: 7.22 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Read an Excerpt

PREFACE:

Preface

About Media Writing

Twenty years ago, a basic college reporting course was a newspaper reporting course. Students learned to write summary leads and obituaries and to report fires, accidents and speeches as they would be reported for newspapers. Textbooks were written accordingly. There was a host of newspaper reporting books, broadcast copywriting courses had their own texts and public relations writing classes generally built on the foundations of the print courses.

Today, the very business of news reporting has changed, affected by a communication revolution made possible by the convergent technologies of computer, telephone and television and manifested in e-mail, teletext, fax, CD-ROM, DBS, hypertext and hypermedia, online sources and, of course, the Internet. Every indicator shows the media are coming together and print, broadcast or public relations specialization is on its way out.

Instead of merely being writers and reporters, print and broadcast journalists and public relations practitioners increasingly find themselves in the business of information processing and dissemination. Tomorrow's newswriters will need to be able to write a piece of newspaper copy designed to be read, convert it to a broadcast script that can be heard, then turn it out as a public relations release, often in print and broadcast versions for external media or as information for internal organizational media.

While traditional daily and weekly newspaper, radio and television jobs are still out there, competition for them has increased. Newspaper readership percentages have been on a downward spiral for years, and, while onlinenewspapers are attracting readers, the number of daily newspapers continues to decline. Most local radio stations have abandoned news, and audiences for television are fragmenting.

Career options in this new media environment, however, have expanded dramatically for those with interchangeable writing skills. Today's media writers can begin careers in a variety of magazine genres and newsletters. Traditional agency and corporate public relations has expanded to nonprofit organizations, and advertising continues to be the economic backbone supporting the media. Predictions are that in 20 years, media writers will be independent contractors, coming together as part of specialized teams, working on a project, then leaving to start another. Today's media freelancer is already working this way.

Media Writing is designed for those who will venture into this new multimedia environment. The book explores linkages between print, broadcast and public relations writing styles, outlines the nature of good writing, and synthesizes and integrates professional skills and concepts. While the subject matter is still divided into print, broadcast and public relations sections, because each writing form has a distinct style, the book pulls these three elements together so that at the end of a semester you will have a grasp of the basic principles of media writing.

We not only explain the "hows" of media writing but the "whys" through a discussion of the theoretical aspects of communication, by an examination of legal and ethical issues, and through an analysis of what makes news, how radio and television stations operate, and the role of the public relations practitioner in today's media environment. With concentrated effort on your part you'll possess the skills to go on to more specialized writing courses.

Media Writing seeks to develop professional attitudes and skills that reporters, broadcasters and PR professionals need. One objective of the book is to provide beginning newswriting students with a primer that allows development of the talents needed to take a summer job or internship at a small daily or weekly newspaper, at a small- or mediummarket radio or television station or in public relations.

The text carries a number of features we hope readers will find helpful.

  • Each chapter opens with a set of objectives broadly outlining concepts for readers to take with them.
  • Chapters contain explanatory "How To" boxes to aid in the understanding and retention of main themes.
  • Practical exercises have been developed to bring to life concepts and writing principles.
  • Interspersed throughout the book are "It Happened to Me" vignettes from the authors, based on personal experience relating to the topic under discussion.
  • Endnotes have been included in chapters where we drew from other sources for those who like having specific citations.
  • Suggested readings highlight fascinating biographies and interesting books available to expand your scope of what professionalism is all about.
Supplement

An Instructor's Manual/Test Bank, containing questions for class discussion and quizzes for each chapter, is available to adopters.

About the Authors

The authors, on the faculty of the Department of Communication at Buffalo State College, bring varied academic and professional talents to this project.

W. Richard Whitaker, Ph.D., a professor of journalism and broadcasting, has experience in television news as a reporter, cameraman and producer and has experience as a newspaper reporter and desk editor. He also spent 20 years as a Navy Reserve public affairs officer and was an associate producer and consultant for a family-owned film and video production company. In teaching for 30 years, he has published articles in History of the Mass Media in The United States, Journalism Quarterly, Journalism History, Middle East Review, Oral History Review and Northwest Ohio Quarterly and has written Navy-related articles for a variety of publications.

Janet E. Ramsey, Ph.D., professor of journalism and chair of the Department of Communication, earned her degree in medieval literature and has taught at the college level, as well as in secondary schools, for more than 25 years. She has been a college newspaper adviser and teaches writing for the print media, feature writing, editorial writing and desktop publishing. She has also done public relations work for the college. A teaching fellow of both the American Press Institute and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Dr. Ramsey has written a college textbook, Feature and Magazine Article Writing (1994, Brown & Benchmark), and has published articles in Journalism Educator and the Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Magazine Journalists, 1850-1900.

Ronald D. Smith, M.S., APR, associate professor of public communication with 25 years of professional experience as a public relations director and consultant, specializes in strategic planning and integrated communication. Past president of the Buffalo/Niagara Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and past chair of PRSA's Northeast District, he has received several awards for public relations research, web design and writing and production of print and video materials. He also has been named "Practitioner of the Year" by his local PRSA chapter. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, a Navy journalist, freelance magazine writer and newsletter editor. He is the author of two college textbooks, Becoming a Public Relations Writer (in press, 2e, NTC Contemporary) and Strategic Planning for Public Relations (in press, 2e, NTC Contemporary). He has written on persuasive communication in the Journal of Public Relations Research and presented a public relations division paper on the topic to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Some Words on Writing

Like all writing, media writing requires discipline, because it's hard work. It's also fun and rewarding. A newspaper reporter goes out and covers the news, then comes back and writes a story that has his or her byline under the headline. Television correspondents report from the scene, with their nameline superimposed on the screen, and radio journalists often have the challenge of working on even tighter deadlines. They all have in common, however, solid writing skills. News reporters have to have personal attributes of curiosity about the world around them, a broad knowledge base, creativity, an attention to detail and a respect for accuracy, objectivity and fairness. They also have to have a passion for words and the correct use of the language. If you go into this field, you will need to become a "wordsmith;' one who respects language and has learned its usage. Only then will you be able to effectively interpret the world to other people. Media Writing is designed to help you build the necessary foundation.

W Richard Whitaker
Janet E. Ramsey
Ronald D. Smith

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 Introduction to Media Writing 1
Ch. 2 Research in Communication 20
Ch. 3 Interviewing 49
Ch. 4 Basics of Writing and Editing 72
Ch. 5 Law and Ethics 112
Ch. 6 Basic News Stories 138
Ch. 7 Reporting What Others Say 159
Ch. 8 Obituaries, Rewrites and Roundups 181
Ch. 9 Feature Writing 197
Ch. 10 Writing Broadcast Copy 213
Ch. 11 Reporting for Radio and Television 238
Ch. 12 Objectives and Strategies for Public Relations Writing 264
Ch. 13 Communicating Through Organizational Media 280
Ch. 14 Communicating Through the News Media 300
Ch. 15 Communicating Through Promotional Media 332
Ch. 16 Media Writing in the 21st Century 349
Credits 367
Index 369
Read More Show Less

Preface

PREFACE:

Preface

About Media Writing

Twenty years ago, a basic college reporting course was a newspaper reporting course. Students learned to write summary leads and obituaries and to report fires, accidents and speeches as they would be reported for newspapers. Textbooks were written accordingly. There was a host of newspaper reporting books, broadcast copywriting courses had their own texts and public relations writing classes generally built on the foundations of the print courses.

Today, the very business of news reporting has changed, affected by a communication revolution made possible by the convergent technologies of computer, telephone and television and manifested in e-mail, teletext, fax, CD-ROM, DBS, hypertext and hypermedia, online sources and, of course, the Internet. Every indicator shows the media are coming together and print, broadcast or public relations specialization is on its way out.

Instead of merely being writers and reporters, print and broadcast journalists and public relations practitioners increasingly find themselves in the business of information processing and dissemination. Tomorrow's newswriters will need to be able to write a piece of newspaper copy designed to be read, convert it to a broadcast script that can be heard, then turn it out as a public relations release, often in print and broadcast versions for external media or as information for internal organizational media.

While traditional daily and weekly newspaper, radio and television jobs are still out there, competition for them has increased. Newspaper readership percentages have been on a downward spiral for years, and, whileonlinenewspapers are attracting readers, the number of daily newspapers continues to decline. Most local radio stations have abandoned news, and audiences for television are fragmenting.

Career options in this new media environment, however, have expanded dramatically for those with interchangeable writing skills. Today's media writers can begin careers in a variety of magazine genres and newsletters. Traditional agency and corporate public relations has expanded to nonprofit organizations, and advertising continues to be the economic backbone supporting the media. Predictions are that in 20 years, media writers will be independent contractors, coming together as part of specialized teams, working on a project, then leaving to start another. Today's media freelancer is already working this way.

Media Writing is designed for those who will venture into this new multimedia environment. The book explores linkages between print, broadcast and public relations writing styles, outlines the nature of good writing, and synthesizes and integrates professional skills and concepts. While the subject matter is still divided into print, broadcast and public relations sections, because each writing form has a distinct style, the book pulls these three elements together so that at the end of a semester you will have a grasp of the basic principles of media writing.

We not only explain the "hows" of media writing but the "whys" through a discussion of the theoretical aspects of communication, by an examination of legal and ethical issues, and through an analysis of what makes news, how radio and television stations operate, and the role of the public relations practitioner in today's media environment. With concentrated effort on your part you'll possess the skills to go on to more specialized writing courses.

Media Writing seeks to develop professional attitudes and skills that reporters, broadcasters and PR professionals need. One objective of the book is to provide beginning newswriting students with a primer that allows development of the talents needed to take a summer job or internship at a small daily or weekly newspaper, at a small- or mediummarket radio or television station or in public relations.

The text carries a number of features we hope readers will find helpful.

  • Each chapter opens with a set of objectives broadly outlining concepts for readers to take with them.
  • Chapters contain explanatory "How To" boxes to aid in the understanding and retention of main themes.
  • Practical exercises have been developed to bring to life concepts and writing principles.
  • Interspersed throughout the book are "It Happened to Me" vignettes from the authors, based on personal experience relating to the topic under discussion.
  • Endnotes have been included in chapters where we drew from other sources for those who like having specific citations.
  • Suggested readings highlight fascinating biographies and interesting books available to expand your scope of what professionalism is all about.
Supplement

An Instructor's Manual/Test Bank, containing questions for class discussion and quizzes for each chapter, is available to adopters.

About the Authors

The authors, on the faculty of the Department of Communication at Buffalo State College, bring varied academic and professional talents to this project.

W. Richard Whitaker, Ph.D., a professor of journalism and broadcasting, has experience in television news as a reporter, cameraman and producer and has experience as a newspaper reporter and desk editor. He also spent 20 years as a Navy Reserve public affairs officer and was an associate producer and consultant for a family-owned film and video production company. In teaching for 30 years, he has published articles in History of the Mass Media in The United States, Journalism Quarterly, Journalism History, Middle East Review, Oral History Review and Northwest Ohio Quarterly and has written Navy-related articles for a variety of publications.

Janet E. Ramsey, Ph.D., professor of journalism and chair of the Department of Communication, earned her degree in medieval literature and has taught at the college level, as well as in secondary schools, for more than 25 years. She has been a college newspaper adviser and teaches writing for the print media, feature writing, editorial writing and desktop publishing. She has also done public relations work for the college. A teaching fellow of both the American Press Institute and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Dr. Ramsey has written a college textbook, Feature and Magazine Article Writing (1994, Brown & Benchmark), and has published articles in Journalism Educator and the Dictionary of Literary Biography: American Magazine Journalists, 1850-1900.

Ronald D. Smith, M.S., APR, associate professor of public communication with 25 years of professional experience as a public relations director and consultant, specializes in strategic planning and integrated communication. Past president of the Buffalo/Niagara Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and past chair of PRSA's Northeast District, he has received several awards for public relations research, web design and writing and production of print and video materials. He also has been named "Practitioner of the Year" by his local PRSA chapter. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and editor, a Navy journalist, freelance magazine writer and newsletter editor. He is the author of two college textbooks, Becoming a Public Relations Writer (in press, 2e, NTC Contemporary) and Strategic Planning for Public Relations (in press, 2e, NTC Contemporary). He has written on persuasive communication in the Journal of Public Relations Research and presented a public relations division paper on the topic to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

Some Words on Writing

Like all writing, media writing requires discipline, because it's hard work. It's also fun and rewarding. A newspaper reporter goes out and covers the news, then comes back and writes a story that has his or her byline under the headline. Television correspondents report from the scene, with their nameline superimposed on the screen, and radio journalists often have the challenge of working on even tighter deadlines. They all have in common, however, solid writing skills. News reporters have to have personal attributes of curiosity about the world around them, a broad knowledge base, creativity, an attention to detail and a respect for accuracy, objectivity and fairness. They also have to have a passion for words and the correct use of the language. If you go into this field, you will need to become a "wordsmith;' one who respects language and has learned its usage. Only then will you be able to effectively interpret the world to other people. Media Writing is designed to help you build the necessary foundation.

W Richard Whitaker
Janet E. Ramsey
Ronald D. Smith

Read More Show Less

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