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Math help for journalists

Many journalists say (sometimes jokingly, sometimes not) that they got into the profession because they would not have to deal with a lot of math. For most working reporters, however, that turns out not to be the case.

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Context in reporting

One of the criticisms of journalism is that reporters report events as events only, rather than giving them any context.

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Writing an obit

For generations, the journalism culture demanded that young reporters cut their teeth on obituary stories – “writing obits,” we would say. The thinking was that obituaries were easy to write and possibly not very interesting or important.

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Reporting religion

Religion and religious topics are not particularly welcomed in a newsroom. That is why years such as 2004, when religion is a big part of some of the year’s biggest stories (gay marriage, the presidential election, Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of Christ,” etc.) are tough for journalists. Why then are editors and news directors […]

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The ‘essentially accurate’ standard

Abraham Lincoln began the Gettysburg Address with the words, “About a century ago, the dudes that started it all . . .” Well, ok. Those weren’t exactly the words, but they are “essentially accurate.” That’s the standard that Detroit Free Press sportswriter Mitch Albom imposed upon himself in handling direct quotations for his column. Apparently, […]

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Web Journalism: Practice and Promise of a New Medium

Web Journalism: Practice and Promise of a New Medium explores the current practices and future possibilities of Web journalism and examines the characteristics of the Web that distinguish it from traditional media.

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A new edition of Fowler

Early in my academic writing career, I met Fowler. I was putting together the first edition of Writing for the Mass Media and was looking for some basic writing references and somehow — I don’t remember how — came upon Fowler. It was, the parlance of that day, the real thing. Fowler is an “it,” […]

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The Intersection of Journalism and Fiction

The Ossoli Circle — one of the oldest women’s clubs in the South — has asked me to speak today. The invitation came because of the mystery novel, Kill the Quarterback, which was published last year. The following is a text of some of what I plan to say: When people ask what Kill the […]

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Writing for the web: guidelines for an introductory writing class

The following are some notes I have made for a discussion I am having with the JEM 200 writing instructors about what we are teaching concerning writing for the web. I invite your comments. As we move from writing in print mode to writing for the web, here are some general principles that we should […]

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25 random things about me

Now that the 25-random-things rage on Facebook is about spent, it’s about time I got in on it. Here’s what I just posted. 1. I keep bees. That usually starts a conversation. 2. The TNJN.com kids make me look like a wizard and a genius every day. I am in awe of them. I wouldn’t […]

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Writing for Twitter – good journalism in 140 characters

When a dam that held millions of cubic yards of toxic coalash near Harriman, Tenn., broke a few days before Christmas 2008, no one paid much attention other than those immediately affected by it and the local media. The disaster was epic — compared to the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989. But […]

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Lincoln at 200; Lincoln the writer

Once Americans get through Christmas, they will be faced with two important dates that inter-weave themselves politically and historically: the inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States on Jan. 20 and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12. For the moment, the Writing Wright will set Barack […]

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Re-thinking the old media forms

Yes, you can do the old forms on the web. But should you? This “old media” type says we should re-think the forms of our content. This New York Times article by Virginia Heffernan is bit depressing but very perceptive. She writes: . . .they should think about what content suits these new modes of […]

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William Tecumseh Sherman: Marching through the American mind

The Union Army, under the command of William Tecumseh Sherman, decamped from a devastated and burning Atlanta on November 16, 1864 and marched across the expanse of Georgia until it reached Savannah. The purpose, according to its commander, was to bring the horrors of war into the farms, fields, parlors and living rooms of the […]

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Aristotle figured out the storytelling 2,300 years ago

An article in the March issue of The Writer magazine lays out what Aristotle thought about storytelling about 2,300 years ago. The article, written by William Kowalski, points out that the Greeks didn’t have the novel, but they did have the theater. From that, Aristotle decided to outline what he thought made a compelling story: […]

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Writing Wright reviewed by ‘Small Church Pastor’

My old friend Chuck Warnock has written a very nice review of The Writing Wright for his popular blog Confessions of a Small Church Pastor. Here’s part of what Chuck says about the book: The Writing Wright brims with quotes, anecdotes, excerpts, and illustrations about writers and writing. From Samuel Johnson to Ernest Hemingway to […]

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Headlines and titles: the ‘invention’ conceit

In our modern Scots-invented world of bloviation, headlines and titles can’t stand the heat of a literalist’s kitchen. Note: This is a post that appeared on a previous blog in May, 2008. Being a literalist when it comes to words and their usage (though not without a sense of humor, I hope), I tend to […]

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Memo to self: Writing projects and beyond

SELF-INDULGENCE ALERT: Warning the following is about what I have been up to lately. Not for the faint of heart. Now that I’ve ushered one big writing project out the door, it’s time to assess and indulge. A couple of things are done, but a couple of others need attention, and some things loom on […]

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Cyn Mobley to host Internet radio call-in show on publishing

Best-selling thriller novelist Cyn Mobley will host her first Internet radio call-in show on what it takes to get published on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2008 at 7 p.m. EST at Talkshoe.com. The link to the show is here: http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/32978 The show is set up so you can just listen in or you can call via […]

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Non-profit news: the new journalism

The New York Times has an article this morning on non-profit journalism — an idea that has been around for a while. In fact, the Christian Science Monitor had a similar article, spotlighting the VoiceofSanDiego as the Times article did, back in February. There are also articles in the Columbia Journalism Review, American Journalism Review, […]

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