Fundamentals of Journalism: Reporting, Writing and Editing
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R. Thomas Berner, emeritus professor of journalism and American studies, Pennsylvania State University
Affordable Textbook Emphasizes Fundamentals of Journalism
Too long, too vapid and too expensive.
Like many journalism instructors, R. Thomas Berner was familiar with these complaints, which college students often made about the textbooks assigned in their reporting, writing and copy editing classes.
So Berner, a professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University, decided to write Fundamentals of Journalism: Reporting, Writing and Editing, a student-friendly book with an affordable list price of only $29.95.
The 300-page trade-sized (5Ό -by-8Ό-inch) book distills much of the content in other books Berner wrote during his 28 years at Penn State, which included The Process of Writing News, Writing Literary Features, The Literature of Journalism, The Process of Editing, and Language Skills for Journalists.
"When I taught reporting classes in the 1990s, I used Prof. Berner's Language Skills for Journalists," said David Demers, publisher of Marquette Books. "I liked it because it was very well written and student-friendly. So I'm just delighted that he has given us an opportunity to publish his newest book."
In Fundamentals of Journalism, Chapters 1 through 7 (from "News" to "Other Story Types") are ideal for beginning newswriting and reporting courses. Chapters 4 through 8 (from "Reporting" to "Narrative Nonfiction") fit well with feature writing courses. And Chapters 9 through 15 ("Copy Editor" through "News Evaluation") along with a review of Chapter 6 ("Responsible Journalism") are well suited for copy editing courses.
"If content and cost are your considerations, Fundamentals of Journalism is the book you want to purchase. ... Four basic sections: Reporting, Writing, Editing, and Law and Ethics are supplemented by excellent appendices on sentence structure, grammar, punctuation and style. Chapters 9 and 10 - the Editing Function I and II - stand out. These chapters should be required reading for all journalists, students and media professionals. The reader follows the copy editor and understands the importance of news flow, writing style and precision, appreciating all the while the power of writing and editing." --Quill magazine, October/November 2007, Vol. 82, No. 1, pp. 16-17
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: R. Thomas Berner is professor emeritus of journalism and American studies at Pennsylvania State University, where he taught reporting, writing and copyediting courses for more 28 years. He lives in New Mexico and currently teaches an online communication course and continues to do freelance writing and editing. He has written seven books, including The Literature of Journalism: Text and Context. He was a 1994 and 2005 Fulbright lecturer in China and has published op-ed pieces on China in, among others, the Christian Science Monitor and the Los Angeles Times.
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Tentative Table of Contents
Chapter 1 News and Society / Role of News in Society / News Values
Chapter 2 Elements of a News Story / A Story's Elements / The Lead / The Time Element / Sources / Attribution / Sentences and Paragraphs / The Elements in a Story / Writing the Lead
Chapter 3 The Fundamentals of Writing News / The Writing Process / Leads, No-news Leads and News Judgment / Backing into Stories / Blind Leads / Length of Lead / Dependent Clause Problems / Emphasis / One Issue per Lead / the Why Element / Developing a Story / Transition / Emphasis in a Sentence / Sentence and Paragraph Length / Be Specific / Direct Quotations / Subsumption / Strong Verbs / Clichιs
Chapter 4 Reporting / The Value of Curiosity for Reporters / Sources of Stories
Chapter 5 Gathering Information / Interviews / Observation / Documents / Note Taking
Chapter 6 Responsible Journalism / A Primer on Ethics /Cover the News / Plagiarism / Sensitive Stories / Race and Sex / Age / Anonymous or Unidentified Sources / Just the Facts / Photographs /A Primer on Libel
Chapter 7 Other Story Types / Feature Stories / Profiles / Obituaries / In-depth Articles
Chapter 8 Narrative Nonfiction / What Is Narrative Nonfiction /The Elements and Techniques of Narrative Nonfiction / Beginning, Middle and End
Chapter 9 Editors / The Role of Copy Editors / A Variety of Editors and Their Duties / The Newsroom Hierarchy
Chapter 10 The Editing Function / Do No Harm / the Story Conference and Copy Flow /Maintain Copy Flow / Meet Deadlines / Deflate Pomposity / Put Life into Breathless Prose / Fill in the Holes / Question Facts Get the Facts Straight / Watch for New Words Made by "Typos" / Gang up on Double Entendres / Challenge Profanity / Put Precision into Sentences / Do the Arithmetic / Verify Names /Verify Dates / Use Foreign Words Correctly
Chapter 11 The Editing Function II / Exercise Doubt / Don't Trust the Wires / Keep Style Consistent / Protect Against Libel Respect Privacy / Remember Your Audience's Tastes / Cool off Copy / Test Sources/ Strive for Balance / Stamp out Stereotypes / Be a Self-checker
Chapter 12 The Written Word
Chapter 13 Tightening / Copy Spare the Reader / Remove Verbosity / Make Sentences Direct / Eliminate Conventional Information / Strengthen Weak Verbs / Oust the Passive Voice / Cut Weak Phrases / Get the Right Word / Watch for Redundancies / Compress Wordy Phrases / Evaluate Detail with a Cutting Eye / Omit the Obvious / Unpile Prepositional Phrases / Knock Down Stone Walls / Edit Elliptically / Drop Unnecessary Pronouns / A Closing Note
Chapter 14 Headlines and Captions / Headlines: Aid to Readers / A Guide to Writing Headlines / Headline Rules / In Error They Glare / Writing Seductive Headlines / Caption Writing
Chapter 15 News Evaluation / What Makes News / The Story Conference and Copy Flow / Putting Theory into Practice / Hard Vs. Soft / The Want to Know V. the Need to Know / A First Amendment Obligation
Appendix A Sentences and Paragraphs / The Sentence / Traditional and Non-traditional Sentence Patterns / The Simple Sentence / The Compound Sentence / The Complex Sentence / Creating a Subordinate Clause / Clauses and Relationships / Incorrect Subordination / The Compound-complex Sentence / Positioning for Clarity / Subordinate Clauses / Qualification / Phrases for Context / Transition
Appendix B Conventional Grammar / Nouns and Pronouns / Effect on Verbs / Effect on Pronouns / Unclear Antecedent / Missing Antecedent / Overworked Pronouns / Pronouns in Attribution / False Antecedent / Indefinite Use / Other Antecedents / Pronoun Forms / Personal Pronouns / Reflexive Pronouns / Relative Pronouns / Demonstrative Pronouns / Sexism and Pronouns
Appendix C Modification / Positioning Modifiers Correctly / Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers / Other Faults
Appendix D Punctuation / Establishing Relationships / End Punctuation / the Period / End of Sentence / Abbreviation / With Quotation Marks / With Parentheses / Ellipsis / The Question Mark / Exclamation Mark / Punctuation Within a Sentence / The Comma / Titles / Suffix after Name / Titles as Subjects / Apposition / Clarity / Restatement / Non-essential Words, Phrases and Clauses / Parenthetical Expressions / Dates / Addresses and Ages / Transition Markers / Introductory Phrases / Introductory Modifiers / Modifiers in a Series / Contrasting Ideas / Connectives / Long Compound Sentences / Elliptic Use / Direct Address / Placement with Quotation Marks / Attribution Tag / Masquerade / Clarity / Erroneous Omission / Instead of a Semicolon / the Semicolon / With a Series / Placement with Quotation Marks / The Colon / The Hyphen / In a Compound Modifier / With a Prefix / With a Repeated Vowel, for Word Distinction / Other Uses / Clarity / Suspensive Hyphenation / Ages / the Dash / Lengthy Apposition / Stress / As a Colon / Misused / Lists / Parentheses / Other Uses / Abuse / Brackets / Other Uses / Abuse / The Apostrophe / Quotation Marks
Appendix E A Condensed Stylebook
Appendix F Glossary
Copyright 2007 / 350 pp. (est) / Paperback / ISBN 978-0-922993-76-5 / $29.95