Archives: journalism

MC 102 Lecture 4: News and newswriting

May 28, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

News is one of the things that holds society together. It is something we all use and share. News is what we have in common. Up to this point in the course, we have tried to emphasize and apply some of the basic tenants of good writing and to discuss what it means to write in a professional environment. This week, we begin to learn the various forms of writing for the mass media.

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MC 102 Lecture 02: Grammar and style

May 28, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

For media writers — people who make their living in this profession, however, the rules of grammar, spelling, punctuation and style are essential. Knowing those rules and being able to apply them consciously to your writing is the mark of a professional. What you don’t know about these things, you should try to learn as quickly as possible.

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Exercise: Commas 01

May 20, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: exercises, journalism.

This exercise consists of 10 sentences. Re-type each sentence inserting commas in the correct locations. Print this out when you have finished or follow the directions of your instructor in completing this exercise. A link appears at the end of the sentences that gives an explanation for each sentence.

Super Bowl advertising (2005)

May 20, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

Advertisers at this year’s Super Bowl will spend $2.4 million to reach the 90 million people in the television audience for 30 seconds. That figure is up slightly from the $2.3 million they spent last year. Traditionally, the Super Bowl draws the single largest television audience of any show during the year.

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Mr. Magazine

May 20, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

One of the most interesting and up-to-date people keeping up with the magazine world is Samir Husni — or, as he has tagged himself, Mr. Magazine. Husni is especially interested in monitoring magazine startup.

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John H. Johnson, magazine publisher

May 20, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

The nation lost one of its media pioneers on Monday, Aug. 8, 2005, with the death of John H. Johnson. He was the Chicago entrepaneur and publisher who recognized that blacks aspired to be better off and have more — and that they were gaining the ability to pay for it. His magazines, including Negro Digest, Ebony and Jet, gave voice to a rising black middle class that emerged from World War II. It was a time when blacks were often degraded or more commonly ignored by white owned and operated media. But Johnson saw the rise of of black artists, athletes and actors as indicative of what all blacks aspired to — making life better for themselves and their children. Johnson’s death has been overshadowed by that of ABC news anchor Peter Jennings, which is too bad. Johnson’s effect on the mass media of the 20th century, and on American society itself, has been profound.

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Naming rape victims

May 19, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

Rape is a crime that involves extreme invasion of privacy, and many victims of rape do not want their names published. But what happens when the person accused of rape is famous and the case draws a lot of publicity?

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At CBS, an honest mistake or something more?

May 19, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

When the CBS News show “48 Hours” aired a segment a couple of weeks ago about a murder in Columbia, Mo., it altered a picture of the front page of the Columbia Daily Tribune the show used as a graphic. CBS has acknowledged the mistake, although it has not explained very well how it happened. But there is evidence CBS still doesn’t understand the seriousness of its action — particularly given the conclusion the show drew about the case.

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Interviewing

May 17, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

One of the skills a reporter must develop is the art of interviewing. The text pays a good deal of attention to helping students develop this skill. For more information about interviewing, start with this article, The Art of Asking Questions from the Poynter Institute.

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Sports reporters

May 17, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

Many people aspire to be sports writers simply because they enjoy watching sports. Being a sports writer is a noble aspiration, but the very best sports writers have gone beyond the games they watch and lifted their writing — and their readers — into the realms of literature. Three of the best of the 20th century were Grantland Rice, Red Smith and Shirley Povich. Rice wrote the most famous sports lead paragraph of all time comparing the Notre Dame football backfield to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

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Scoop crazy

May 17, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

Every good journalist wants a scoop. Working in a world with relatively few rewards, the journalist seeks the occasional and often Pyrrhic victory of getting a story before anyone else gets its. Then, if the story is important enough so that other media outlets pick it up, professional practice demands that the other guys attribute the story to you. It’s their acknowledgement that, for a brief moment, you’re a better journalist than they are.

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The question of deception

May 17, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

When the Spokane Spokesman-Review recently exposed nefarious behavior on the part of Spokane’s mayor, the newspaper used some deception in its reporting. The reaction of many editors would lead you to believe that “Thou shalt never deceive” is one of the most sacred of Journalist Commandments. But it’s not. Deception isn’t always a good idea, but it has a good history and support from one of the profession’s major codes of ethics.

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The odd odyssey of Judith Miller, part 2

May 17, 2013 | By Jim Stovall | No Comments | Filed in: journalism.

Miller and the New York Times have finally published their version of the controversy and an account of Miller’s testimony before the grand jury. This account is bound to raise questions and send critics howling. But one often-overlooked question is why Miller felt she had to determine whether or not her source’s release from her pledge of confidentiality was voluntary. All in all, this whole situation is probably a setback for the cause of a federal reporter’s shield law.

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