Tag Archives: books

Foothills Voices, volume 2, set of launch on May 9

From the Blount County Public Library:

The second volume of Foothills Voices: Echoes of Southern Appalachia will be unveiled on Thursday, May 9, at 7 p.m. in the Sharon Lawson room of the Blount County Public Library. Twelve writers from the East Tennessee region tell twelve stories – true stories of love, family, joy, and heartbreak – in the latest volume of Foothills Voices: Echoes of Southern Appalachia, produced by the Blount County Public Library and set for publication in April.

The voices in this volume echo with a pitch, tone, and diversity that reflects the Appalachian region itself. They include

  • the sounds of thunderous singing of music sung just as it was two centuries ago;

  • the almost imperceptible scratching of a pen used by an octogenarian grandmother as she writes a journal for her grown children;

  • the soft sounds of books being shelved in a library where children are laughing in the background;

  • the tall but largely true tale of two moonshiners, one who comes off the mountain and another who doesn’t.

The Foothills Voices project, begun in 2016 by the Blount County Public Library, is supported by the Blount County Friends of the Library and is part of the library’s Southern Appalachian Studies Center. The first volume of Foothills Voices was published in 2017.

The chapters in this latest volume of Foothills Voices deal with aspects of Appalachian life from intimate family stories to global issues as they played out in these hills and valleys. There’s life and death here. Sometimes the death is planned or much anticipated; sometimes it’s a surprise.

There is also work in these pages: the nurse who cares for the mentally ill, the member of the road-building crew, the grave-digger, and the dairy farmer. There’s the artist turned teacher who gained prominence as a librarian. There’s the farm boy turned soldier whose faith saw him through weeks of combat. There’s the woman who tended her garden with such care, intelligence, and strength of will that it became a tourist attraction.

“These stories reflect a region whose vibrancy and depth has sometimes been stereotyped inaccurately and unfairly,” Jim Stovall, the editor of this volume, said. Stovall is the library’s writer-in-residence.  “The people of southern Appalachia know who and what is here. We hope that this volume of Foothills Voices will help articulate the stories and lives of this region and will help others to share in the joy that life in this region offers.” The volume is scheduled for publication by April 15. Copies will be available for purchase at the library and on Amazon in print, ebook, and audiobook formats.

Open to the public, this program is hosted by the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville, where services are an example of your tax dollars at work for you.

For further information about library programs or services, call the library at (865) 982-0981 or visit the Web site at www.blountlibrary.org . To sign up to receive a monthly calendar by email, go to the library’s Home Page and go to What’s Happening? on the Menu Bar. Then under News and Events click on Join Calendar Email List. Also check out Facebook at “Blount County Public Library,” Twitter at “Blount_Library,” and Instagram at “bcplibrary.”

What makes readers buy books?

Why do readers buy books?

It’s an ancient question with no definitive answer, but fortunately folks keep searching for one.

Maggie Lynch, author of numerous books and articles, has a roundup (Opinion: What Makes Readers Buy Books? | Alliance of Independent Authors: Self-Publishing Advice Center) of some of the latest research on the Alliance of Independent Authors website, and while most of it is common sense (readers buy books of subjects they like), some of it enlightening.

Here’s a list of reasons that was produced by the results of a large survey (2,697 participants) of  book buyers in Australia; the survey was conducted by Macquarie University for the Australia Council for the Arts:

1. The topic, subject, setting or style 89.7%
2. Read and enjoyed previous works by the author 77.9%
3. The book is available in the format I want 62.6%
4. Recommendation from a friend 59.7%
5. The price 44.9%
6. Reputation of the author 42.2%
7. Reader book reviews 25.4%
8. Type size 24.0%
9. People are talking about this book 23.1%
10. Professional book reviews 21.9%
11. Won or shortlisted for a prize 21.0%
12. Recommendation from a bookseller or librarian 20.5%
13. The length of the book 20.3%
14. Bestseller lists 18.6%
15. The jacket cover 18.4%
16. Promotional activity in the bookshop or library 7.9%
17. Recommendation by public figures and celebrities 7.3%
18. Cover endorsements 6.7%

What are some of the reasons you buy a book? Send me your list.

An offer you can’t refuse: The Guardian’s top 10 books about gangsters

If you’re like me, you’re a bit of a sucker for “top 10” or “10 best” lists — especially when it comes to books about topics that interest me. So here’s a good one.

Crime novelist Ron Reynolds has written an intelligent and entertaining piece for The Guardian on his top 10 books about gangsters. He begins, of course, with The Godfather, a book I read many years ago and a movie I’ve seen enough to have most of the lines memorized (much to the irritation of my wife).

Reynolds himself has a mea culpa:

I never set out to write about gangsters. My first novel, The Dark Inside, was based on the Texarkana Moonlight Murders, a 1946 serial-killing case. The sequel, Black Night Falling, saw my protagonist, Charlie Yates, drawn back to Arkansas, to the town of Hot Springs – a real-life mob town in the 1940s where illegal gambling and prostitution flourished. That’s when serendipity came into play . . . Source: Top 10 books about gangsters | Books | The Guardian

This is a good list and a good, short read.

Library of Congress stands fast against America’s strain of anti-intellectualism

The strain of anti-intellectualism that pervades American culture is always at war with those of us who value learning and believe that life is more than just a set of economic facts.

We have many valuable and visible allies. One of the most visible is the Library of Congress.

And this week is special. The Library is celebrating its 218th birthday (April 24, 1800).

So what is this thing, the Library of Congress? In its own words:

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with more than 167 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. The collections include more than 39 million books and other printed materials, 3.6 million recordings, 14.8 million photographs, 5.5 million maps, 8.1 million pieces of sheet music and 72 million manuscripts. Source: Fascinating Facts | Library of Congress

There are lots of things about the Library you should know:

  • When the British army invaded Maryland and set fire to Washington in August 1814, it burned the Library and its collection of 3,000 books. Five months later the Library purchased the collection of Thomas Jefferson, some 6,000 volumes, for about $24,000. Jefferson’s personal papers, notes, accounts, and correspondence were added later, and the collection now consists of about 27,000 items — including a draft of the Declaration of Independence.
  • The Library receives about 15,000 items every working day and adds about 12,000 items to its collections daily. Most of these come through the U.S. Copyright Office. The Library must receive a copy of anything that carries a registered copyright.
  • The smallest book in the Library is a 0.04-inch square copy of Ole King Cole. The largest book is a 5 x 7-foot book of images of Bhutan.
  • The Library’s copy of the Gutenberg Bible is one of only three perfect copies in existence. It is on display whenever the Library is open for visitors.
  • There are 5.5 million maps in the Library, 124,000 telephone directories, and 124,000 comic books.
  • The oldest newspaper in the Library is Mercurius Publicas Comprising the Sum of Forraign Intelligence, December 29, 1659.

There is, of course, much more about the Library of Congress, including the fact that anyone 16 or older, can get a library card and do research there. Fortunately, many important and interesting parts of the Library’s collections are digitized and available to anyone who has an Internet connection.

The Library of Congress stands as a daily reminder of how Americans should think of themselves and what we all should strive to be — as opposed to the ludicrous strain of unthinking and unreflective populism that now infects civic life.


girl reading

A pointed, provocative post: Why You Should Stop Reading News by Shane Parrish

Shane Parrish, creator of the Brain Food newsletter and the Farnham Street blog, has published a pointed and provocative essay on why should stop reading the news.

Source: Why You Should Stop Reading News (This article takes about five minutes to read.)

Parrish has a large following of people who are trying to make the most of their time and who need to make good decisions. The news, he says, is very little “signal” and mostly “noise.”

The point is, most of what you read online today is pointless. It’s not important to your life. It’s not going to help you make better decisions. It’s not going to help you understand the world. It’s not going to help you develop deep and meaningful connections with the people around you. The only thing it’s really doing is altering your mood and perhaps your behavior.

Parrish wisely makes the distinction between “news creators” and “journalists.” News creators simply want to gain your attention and hold it for as long as possible. He doesn’t spell it out, but I assume that in his view journalists report information that adds value to your life.

I agree.

Much of what you see, hear, and read today — particularly online — is designed to peak your curiosity rather than to make you a more informed citizen and a better decision-maker.

Avoid the noise because it messes with the signal. Your attention is valuable, so why spend so much time on stuff that will be irrelevant in a few days? Read what stands the test of time. Read from publications that respect and value your time, the ones that add more value than they consume. Read what prompts you to think for yourself. Read fewer articles and more books. Read books that have stood the test of time, those that are still in print after 20 years or so.

Good advice.

girl reading

New theories on why we can’t – or don’t – read

The man who can read books and does not is no better off than the man who cannot read.

Author unknown

For many of us, the pleasure of reading cannot be matched by any other human activity.

Reading transports us to a different place. It fires our imagination. It satisfies our interests and curiosities.

But with so many good things coming out of reading, the question becomes, “Why don’t more people read?”

girl readingScientists and scholars are taking a closer look at that question these days and are coming up with some interesting, and occasionally surprising, answers.

According to a recent article in the New York Times (How to Get Your Mind to Read – The New York Times) by Daniel Willingham, our reading problems stem not from an inability to see words and translate them or from the ubiquitous technology that we have in our hands:

The problem is not bad reading habits engendered by smartphones, but bad education habits engendered by a misunderstanding of how the mind reads.

Willingham (@DTWillingham) is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and the author, most recently, of The Reading Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Understanding How the Mind Reads.  Willingham has written other books about reading, including Raising Kids to Read.

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To read just about anything above the level of literature for young children requires a base of knowledge — a set of background facts — that many people simply do not have.

All prose has factual gaps that must be filled by the reader. Consider “I promised not to play with it, but Mom still wouldn’t let me bring my Rubik’s Cube to the library.” The author has omitted three facts vital to comprehension: you must be quiet in a library; Rubik’s Cubes make noise; kids don’t resist tempting toys very well. If you don’t know these facts, you might understand the literal meaning of the sentence, but you’ll miss why Mom forbade the toy in the library.

American education’s approach to the problem is to treat reading comprehension as an isolated skill and to spend too much time trying to hone that skill, according to Willingham.

Instead, he says, we should spend far less time on reading comprehension and far more time on helping student broaden their knowledge base.

. . . the systematic building of knowledge must be a priority in curriculum design. The Common Core Standards for reading specify nearly nothing by way of content that children are supposed to know — the document valorizes reading skills. State officials should go beyond the Common Core Standards by writing content-rich grade-level standards and supporting district personnel in writing curriculums to help students meet the standards. That’s what Massachusetts did in the 1990s to become the nation’s education leader. Louisiana has recently taken this approach, and early results are encouraging.

Learn more facts, the professor says. That way, reading will become easier and more enjoyable — and we will be more likely to do it.

Good point.

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A journalist needs something to write about: Richard Ben Cramer, Alex Rodriguez and the book that did not get written

A journalist needs something to write about — a subject worthy of the time and effort it takes to gather the information and put it into a suitable form.

Seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

Sometimes, of course, stories just don’t pan out. If you’re working in daily journalism, a story like that is no big deal. It might mean a few hours lost and a few phone calls that go nowhere.

Richard Ben Cramer

Richard Ben Cramer

But, what if you’ve committed several months of your life and your big-time book publisher has advanced major bucks for your manuscript?

That’s the story that is told in an excellent article in this week’s Sports Illustrated, The Puzzle That Couldn’t Be Solved by S.L. Price. (At this point, it takes a subscription to see it, so there’s no link.) Richard Ben Cramer, a journalist of distinctive style and stunning success (What It Takes: The Way to the White House; Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life; What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now: A Remembrance; Being Poppy: A Portrait of George Herbert Walker Bush, among others).

Cramer died in January 2013 of complications from lung cancer. He was 62 years old.

In 2006 Cramer sold both his publisher and his subject on a book about Alex Rodriguez, the star of the New York Yankees who was recently banned for a year by Major League Baseball for taking banned substances. The book had the title, The Importance of Being Alex: A Life with the Yankees. He had a $550,000 advance from the Hachette Book Group. Rodriguez had agreed to cooperate fully. In fact, he welcomed Cramer into his entourage.

During the next year and a half, Cramer was all in with A-Rod and his crowd, spending hours and days traveling with him, talking with him, figuring out the relationships he had. It was a time when A-Rod was fulfilling most of the expectations that baseball fans had for him — the expectation, in particular, of being one of the greatest baseball players ever.

But at some point, in Cramer’s head, A-Rod began to evaporate.

He had hoped to give A-Rod “his size” as the apotheosis of postmodern stardom, but the deeper he dug the more he found, says one close friend, “nothing there. A completely vacuous person and a completely vacuous life.” (quoted material from the Sports Illustrated article)

By 2010, after A-Rod admitted using performance enhancing drugs, not only was Cramer unable to find his larger-than-life story, but his subject had become loathsome.

It’s a sad tale for all concerned. (This summary doesn’t do the article justice; read it for yourself here.)

Cramer’s story is not unique.

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 2.49.45 PM

The cover Edmund Morris’ Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan

Historian Edmund Morris encountered the same problem when he signed on to write the authorized biography of Ronald Reagan in 1985. At that time Morris had gained a good reputation of a biographer with his work on Theodore Roosevelt, and he had been counted by the Reaganites for some time. He was given special access to the White House and Reagan and his family. All were fully cooperative.

Reagan left office in 1989 and went into retirement. Morris continued to work with almost unlimited access to files in the Reagan Library.

The result of his efforts, finally, was Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan.

Morris included all the standard biographical material, but he also created a fictional version of himself and placed it in the book. He resorted to this “literary device” because no one, including Reagan himself, understood the man. He had no close friends. He was not in the least curious about himself. And no one that he talked to “could ever figure him out.” That would include Morris.

In reviewing the book, the New York Times referred to Reagan as “the hollow man.”

Morris, who lacked Cramer’s journalistic integrity, fell into fiction to try to explain a subject he couldn’t locate. Here’s what the Times review said:

Most journalists, historians and nonfiction writers will find this unacceptable. The fictional characters are not clearly identified as such; often they are unnecessary and distracting, particularly an obnoxious made-up son of the author who becomes a radical in the 1960’s. Yet a reader who surrenders to Morris’s self-indulgent blend of scholarship and imagination will be led through a riveting story to a transcendent conclusion with a surprise twist. If there is a ”higher truth” justifying the book’s technique, it is that Ronald Reagan lived in a world of his own fictions, far more extensive than the fictions of Edmund Morris. Who better suited to plumb a phantom subject than a phantom narrator? (quoted material from the New York Times review)

So, the lesson for journalists here is a cautionary one. Despite receiving the accolades of the world (in these instances baseball and politics), a subject may not be worth your time and talent.

Tennessee Journalism Series

The Tennessee Journalism Series is a set of texts and instructional material developed by the faculty of the University of Tennessee School of Journalism and Electronic Media for journalism and instructors around the world. The idea behind the series is “multimedia first.” That is, these books are built for the iPad and contain a variety of multimedia elements: text, audio, video, photo galleries, interactive images, and interactive reviews and quizzes.

As of April 2013, 10 books are available on the iBooks Store for downloading to an iPad (read more about each by clicking on the titles):

Introduction to
An Introduction
Photojournalism Media Reporting
Intro to Journalism Book Cover Reporting: An Introduction Book Cover Photojournalism Book Cover Media Reporting iPad Cover
The First
Writing Like a
Going Online Feature Writing
The First Amendment Book Cover Writing Like a Journalist Book Cover Going Online Book Cover Feature Writing iPad Cover Image
The Devil and
His Due
Seeing Suffrage
The Devil and His Due, Penny Press iBook cover image Seeing Suffrage Book Cover

Kindle and print versions of these books are also available, but they, of course, do not contain all of the multimedia elements found in the iPad versions. These versions do have links to some of the multimedia elements that can be found on the web.

Other books under development include texts on sports journalism, audio journalism and video journalism. Various aspects of the history of journalism and journalism ethics will also appear as titles in this series.

Inforgraphics: A Journalist’s Guide

Infographics is the only book to provide descriptions and examples of the proper use of graphic forms to present information. It presents an in-depth and straightforward approach to explaining the use of information graphics, offering coverage of a form of communication that is as important as writing. This book examines the development of information graphics in modern journalism and takes an in-depth and analytical look at all the major graphic forms that journalists use. It categorizes graphics into charts, charts without numbers, maps, type-based graphics, and illustration-based graphics and discusses the sub-categories of each.

This book is designed to help students understand graphic forms and to use them effectively in communication activities.

Order the book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble.


  • Categorizes infographics into five general types: Chart-based, Maps, Charts without numbers, Type-based, and Illustration-based.
  • Provides particularly in-depth treatment of chart-based and type-based graphics. Discusses the uses of illustration for information purposes.
  • Examines some of the common practices that result in errors in information graphics and tells how to avoid them.
  • Carefully explains the do’s and don’t’s of creating effective information graphics.
  • Pedagogy includes case studies, chapter summaries, glossary, and more than 150 pictures, charts, and diagrams.

Table of contents

1.  Beyond the Paragraph.

Beyond the Words.

The Graphics Revolution.

Deadlines and the Graphic Journalist.

The Development of Infographics.

Developing an Award-Winning Graphic.

Disadvantages of Graphics.

Do Graphics Help the Reader?

2.  Principles of Graphic Presentation.

Design Principles.

Conventions of Graphics.

The Good Graphic: Tips From the Pros.

Toward the Good Graphic.

Categorizing Infographics.

3.  Chart-Based Graphics.

Representing Numerical Data.

Elements in a Chart.

Bar Charts.

Column Charts.

Line Charts.

The Tyranny of the Alphabet.

Pie Charts.

4.  Maps.

The Modern Map.

Locator Maps.

Data Maps.

Developing a Map File.

Explanatory Maps.

Getting Creative.

5.  Charts Without Numbers.

Process Charts.

Structure Charts.

Time Charts.

Building Charts.

6.  Type-Based Graphics.

Development of Type.

Anatomy of Type.

Type on the Page.

Using Type.

Type as a Graphic Device.

Attention-getting Type.

7.  Illustration-based Graphics.

Purpose of Illustration-based Graphics.

Creating Illustrations.

Profile of a Newspaper Illustrator.

Copyright: Swiping Ideas Without Breaking the Law.

Legal and Ethical Considerations.

8.  Errors and Inaccuracy.

Sources of Error.

Common Practices.

Avoiding Error.

9.  Making Graphics Work.

A General Approach to Developing Graphics.

Developing Graphics.

But My Newspaper is too Small to Have a Graphics Department.

Tips for the Small Newspaper That Wants to Get Into Graphics.





The Complete Editor

The Complete Editor offers a basic, straightforward approach to learning the skills that a modern editor needs and to developing the mindset to be a good editor. Filled with abundant exercise material, the book provides instructors with many resources to use in teaching their students about copyediting, headline writing, decision-making, relationships with writers, graphic presentations, photo editing and layout and design. The book also contains a separate chapter on legal principles that an editor needs to understand. The efficient and well-written text of each chapter gives students basic information about the topics at hand and allows instructors to begin discussions of all of the basics of editing.

Order the book from Barnes and Noble.

Book web site at Allyn and Bacon


Abundant in-class and out-of-class exercises reflecting all phases of the editing process provide students and instructors with a wealth of resources.

Real-life examples of editorial decision making, many based on the authors’ professional experience, add a practical, real-world perspective.

Principles of good writing and sound news judgment are emphasized, allowing students to apply their skills to any medium.

Chapters devoted to a wide variety of editing skills provide in-depth instruction in copyediting; management, decision making and relationships with writers; writing headlines and summaries; photo editing; developing infographics; and layout and design.

Clear, precise explanations of the skills it takes to be a good editor help students develop a professional mindset.

The “Five Commandments of Editing” help students go from merely fixing copy to adding value to it.

An extensive chapter on graphic presentation provides explanations about what kind of information is most appropriate for certain types of charts and the conventions of using maps.


Praise for The Complete Editor


“This is by far the best-written editing text I have ever read.”

Carlton M. “Sonny” Rhodes, University of Arkansas, Little Rock

“One problem with too many editing texts is that they spend a lot of time on detail, which students may or may not absorb. This text solves that problem.”

Loran E. Lewis Jr., California State University, Fresno


Table of contents

Each chapter concludes with “Exercises.”


1. The Job of the Editor.

The Job of the Editor.

Tools of the Editor.

The Making of News.

Beginning the Editing Process.

Modern Challenges.

2. Tools of the Editor.




Dealing with Words.

Common Writing Errors.

Keepers of the Language.

3. Style and the Stylebook.

Wire Service Stylebooks.

Journalistic Conventions.

Language Sensitivity.

Attention to Detail.

4. Accuracy, Clarity and Brevity.


What to Check.




Types of Writing.

Four Characteristics of Media Writing.

5. The Complete Editor.

Editor-Writer Relationship.

Responsibilities of the Editor.

Honesty and Fairness.


Acting Ethically.

The Five Commandments.

Making Decisions.

6. Headlines and Summaries.

The Job of the Headline.

Types of Headlines.

Principles of Headline Writing.




7. Pictures.

The Photo Editor.



Digital Photography.

Pictures on the Web.

Ethics and Taste.


8. Infographics.

The Graphics Revolution.

Defining Graphics Journalism.

Type-based Graphics.

Chart-based Graphics.

Illustration-based Graphics.

Developing Infographics.


9. Design and Layout.

Visual Logic.

Tools of Design.

Newspaper Design.

Types of Newspaper Design.

Principles of Layout.

Twelve Rules.

News Judgments.

Magazine Design.

Web Design.


10. The Editor and the Law.

The Legal System.

The First Amendment.


Defenses Against Libel.

Constitutional Defenses.


Defenses Against Invasion of Privacy Charges.


Constant Vigilance.

Appendix A: Copyediting Marks.

Appendix B: Diagnostic Test.

Appendix C: Creating Charts in Excel.

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.

The author guides students through discussion of the traditional practices of journalism, such as reporting, editing, photojournalism, and design, while showing how the distinguishing features of the Web—capacity, immediacy, flexibility, permanency, and interactivity—offer new storytelling possibilities. The traditional principles of journalism—particularly journalistic writing that emphasizes accuracy, clarity, precision and efficiency—are emphasized throughout the text.

Order the book from Amazon (where it is incorrectedly titled Journalism on the Web), Barnes and Noble.

News and notes

Web Journalism — in Chinese.The long-awaited Chinese edition of Web Journalism is finally out. I posted something about that a couple of years ago, and copies of the book arrived in the mail last week. (See below)

This is the first time any book of mine has ever been translated into a language that I couldn’t proofread, and that’s probably a good thing. I am certainly not tempted to proofread this one, and neither are any of my proof-reading friends, of which there are several.

Seriously, my hope is that this book will do the folks on the other side of the world some good.

(Posted March 5, 2007)

Another review of Web JN. My friend and colleague Herb Thompson (a great American) has done it again. He has written another very nice review of one of my books, Web Journalism. This one appears on SecondaryEnglish.com, a web site geared for teachers of high school English. (Herb had also written a review of Journalism: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How for the same web site and had included an interview with me along with the review.) “Anyone interested in writing and communicating through this new medium would benefit from reading this book, and I highly recommend it,” Herb says. (Posted May 27, 2005)

Web Journalism goes Chinese. Word came yesterday from publisher Allyn and Bacon that Web Journalism will be published in Chinese. The book has been in print for about a year and a half now and has been adopted as a text by more than 40 colleges and universities around the country. The Chinese publisher is Wunan Books of Taiwan, which describes itself as “Taiwan’s leading publisher in the social sciences and humanities.” (Posted May 3, 2005)

Nice notice from JMCE. Journalism and Mass Communication Educator has given Web Journalism a very nice review. The review describes various parts of the book and says

Because of these core concentrations, this book is likely to assist students in their journalism careers well after they graduate no matter how much technologies and software continue to evolve. The book would be a wonderful addition to beginning reporting and writing courses, as well as serving as a main textbook for courses specifically in multimedia Web reporting and design.

The book was reviewed along with three others in the current issue of JMCE. A PDF file of the entire review can be downloaded from this site. The journal does not post its reviews on its web site. (Posted Feb. 23, 2005)

The prof gets an A. Since its publication in September 2003, Web Journalism has been the subject of a number of very kind reviews. One of the most enthusiastic came in December 2003 in BuzzMachine, the weblog of web media guru Jeff Jarvis. Here is what he said about the book. (Posted July 25, 2005)



  • The first three chapters offer an in-depth examination of the Web as an individual news medium, taking students beyond the idea that Web news is simply a newspaper on screen.
  • An inside look at MSNBC shows students with an idea of what it’s like to be inside a 24-hour Web news organization (Ch. 13).
  • Three chapters on lateral thinking ask students to think beyond the traditional narrative storytelling forms of the inverted pyramid and present a variety of forms and structures to present information (Chs. 4, 5, & 6).
  • “Cool Ideas” sidebars located throughout the book offer short descriptions of innovative ideas of Web journalism to stimulate creative thinking.
  • Web site references at the end of each chapter provide professors with the best sites available for keeping up with advances in Web journalism.


Table of contents



1. Logging on to the Web.

What Is the World Wide Web?

Disadvantages of the Web.

Whither Web Journalism?

SIDEBAR: September 11, 2001.

SIDEBAR: The President and the Intern.

SIDEBAR: The Starr Report.

COOL IDEAS: Don’t Read and Drive; Listen Instead.

2. News Web Sites.

Defined and Current.

Owned and Operated.

Developing a Web Site (Or Not).

Growing the Web Site.

Independently Owned.

News Sites that Didn’t Mean to Be.

Web Logs: A New Form of Journalism?

Whither Web Sites?

SIDEBAR: Content Management Systems.

3. News: Expanding the Definition.

Old News, Good News.

News, and More of it.

No More Deadlines.


Audience-Generated News.

Personalized News.

Web Logs as News.

Unseparating Church and State.

And Finally

COOL IDEAS: If Readers Could Choose.

4. Reporting: Gathering News for the Web.

Something Old, Something News.

Reporting: Where Journalism Begins.

What Makes a Good Reporter.

Sources and Procedures.

Stored Sources.

Speed and No Deadlines.

Versatility and Teamwork.

Beyond Traditional Sources.

Lateral Thinking: Mind Expansion for the Web Journalist.

Layering Information.

What It Takes.

5. Writing.

Writing for the Media.

Techniques of Journalistic Writing.

Structures from Print.

Web Writing Structures.


Writing for Visual Effect.

New Forms of Writing.

Web Logs.

It’s Still About Journalism.

6. Editing.

Editing for the Web.

Upholding Standards.

First Duty: Know the Language.

Second-Level Editing: Formulating the Language.

Headline, Summaries and Links.

The Editor-Reporter Relationship.

Convergence: Where Media Meet.

Site Design and Organization.

Encouraging and Managing Interactivity.

Preserving the Site.

SIDEBAR: Journalistic Style.

SIDEBAR: The Five Commandments for the Copyeditor.

7. Photojournalism

Photojournalism: Journalism, Only Different.

Life and Times of the Photojournalist.

Developing the Good Picture.

The Photo in Print.

The Digital Revolution.

The Web: Medium of Acceptance and Change.

Ethical Considerations.

Photo Web Sites.

The Promise of the Web.

8. Graphics Journalism: Words and Pictures Together.

Graphics Revolution.

Informational Graphics.

Type-Based Graphics.

Chart-Based Graphics.

Three Basic Charts.


Developing Infographics.

Graphics on the Web.

The Immediacy of Graphics Journalism.



COOL IDEAS: Floating in Words.

9. Audio and Video: Sound and Little Fury.

The Web and Broadcast News.

Reporting and Writing for Broadcast.

Story Structure.

Broadcasting Formats.

Broadcast News Web Sites.

Webcasting and Video on Demand.

SIDEBAR: Broadcast Style.

SIDEBAR: On-the-Air to Online.

10. Design: What Goes Where.

Sept. 11 and Beyond.

Design and Layout.

Visual Logic.

Design Concepts.

Three Elements of Design.

Web Site Design.

Organizing a Web Site.

Web Pages.

The Front Page.

Section Fronts.

Article Pages.

Special Sections.


11. Engaging Audiences.

The Death of All Media.

A Growing Audience.

The Interactive Audience.

Audience-Oriented Forms.

Personalization: The Daily Me.

Paying for It.

Tracking Audiences.

12. Media Law Online (by Amelia Parker).

Broadcast Regulation.

Decency Online.




Obscenity and Indecency.


13. The Web Culture: Inside MSNBC.


14. Big Issues.

Galloping Technology.

The Digital Divide.


Will Newspapers Survive?

The End of Journalism as We Know It.


Appendix A: Newsgathering Techniques.

Appendix B: Journalistic Style.

Appendix C: Type and Typefaces.




Journalism: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How

James Glen Stovall. Allyn and Bacon, 2005
This introductory text is covered with lively writing, up-to-date examples and an inviting layout that will have students reading, wondering, asking and practicing. Just published by Allyn and Bacon, this text is a must for any journalist’s shelf and any journalism teacher’s classroom.
Learn more.
Go to the book’s web site at Allyn and Bacon.

Order the book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

Nice review of JN5W (and full disclosure). My good friend and colleague (that’s the full disclosure part) Herb Thompson has written a very kind and complimentary review of the book for SecondaryEnglish.com. Along with it is an interview that Herb conducted with me.

Writing for the Mass Media (8th edition)

James Glen Stovall. Allyn and Bacon, 2009
For more than 20 years, Writing for the Mass Media has been introducing students to all of the basic forms of media writing: the inverted pyramid for print, the drama unity form for broadcasting, summaries and other specialized writing for the web, copy platforms and storyboards for advertising. and news releases and other forms of writing for public relations. Used by more than 450 colleges and universities, this book gives students an excellent introduction to media writing and teachers the convenience of a clear, concise text with ample writing exercises at the end of each chapter.
Go to the book’s web site here at JPROF.
Order the book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble.

RecentReads: Subversives: A sad, enraging tale

Seth Rosenfeld’s Subversives: The FBI’s War on Student Radicals, and Reagan’s Rise to Power is a sad, depressing and ultimately enraging story.

First, many thanks to Rosenfeld and the attorneys who worked with him to bring us this information. It took more than 30 years and repeated suits against the Federal Bureau of Investigation to pry this information out of the bureau. They stuck with it and got the story — at least, a good part of it.

The story here is that J. Edgar Hoover and Ronald Reagan betrayed the nation. They weren’t agents of a foreign power. Instead, they became what they said they were fighting — subversives. They (and many others with them) actively undermined the laws and values of America to advance their own political agendas and to gain and maintain their political power.

In the 40 years since Hoover’s death, much has been revealed about how he used his considerable power and the resources of the FBI to spy on American citizens, conduct “black-bag jobs,” such as illegal break-ins and wiretaps, and spread false information — all to discredit people he perceived to be “enemies.” Hoover’s administration of the FBI has been thoroughly discredited.

What this book reveals is how much Ronald Reagan cooperated with the FBI from the time in the 1950s when he was president of the Screen Actors Guild to when he became governor and declared war on the Free Speech Movement at the University of California in Berkeley. Reagan was so obsessed with the idea of a “Communist conspiracy” that was subverting American life he became a first class snitch for the FBI, willing to inform on them at any time and for any reason (including the fact that they disagreed with him about Guild policies.

The Free Speech Movement, with its fuzzy-headed appearance, goals and excesses, was made to order for someone with the attitudes and ethics of Reagan, and Hoover rarely hesitated to help him out.

It is little wonder that the FBI so vigorously resisted — and continues to resist — revealing this information. The “subversives” of the title refers not to people like Mario Savio, leader of the Movement, or Clark Kerr, chancellor of the University (and a favorite target of both Reagan and Hoover). Rather, the true subversives are the people were our leaders.

I have two quibbles about this book, both having to do with photography. First, the jacket design is terrible – both confusing and somewhat misleading. Second, there are not enough pictures in the book, and those that are included are of terrible quality. The publisher owed this book and its fine author more attention.


OffTopic: Journalism education books now on the iPad

A series of journalism texts built specifically for the iPad is now available to high school and journalism teachers and students.

(Watch the trailer video about this series.)

The Intercollegiate Online News Network (ICONN), in association with First Inning Press, is producing a series of journalism-related texts for the iPad. Currently, there are four titles in this series: Introduction to Journalism; Reporting: An Introduction; Photojournalism: Telling Stories with Pictures and Words; and The First Amendment.

Each text was built especially for the iPad and is suitable for high school or college journalism classes. Each has a variety of multimedia elements including video, audio, photo galleries and other interactive resources.

The introductory, reporting and photojournalism texts contain an abridged version of the First Amendment text. (A stand-alone free version of the First Amendment book is also available.)

Each text is $1.99 on the iBookstore.

Here are links to the iTunes pages for the textbooks:

The textbooks themselves can only be viewed and downloaded with an iPad.

More texts (for example: feature writing, journalistic writing, sports journalism, video news) are planned for this series.

ICONN is an association of campus news websites that was formed at the University of Tennessee in 2008. Academic programs, campus news websites, professional organizations and individuals are welcome to join ICONN at no cost. If you are wanting to start a news website for your course or program, ICONN can help you do that with its JeffersonNet content management system. More information can be found at the ICONN website.