Media Reporting: Principles and Practices of Journalism in a Multimedia World
James Glen Stovall
Central to the act of journalism is the act of reporting. Journalism cannot exist without reporting, without reporters who are willing to dig up information in all sorts of unlikely places and from all sorts of unlikely people. Nothing matters in journalism without reporting.
That’s why Media Reporting: Principles and Practices of Journalism in a Multimedia World was written. Students who have an interest in journalism should — must — understand that good reporting is the core. Intelligent, insightful, efficient gathering of information. Information that is original, relevant, important and useful.
Journalism doesn’t exist without it.
Reporting is hard work. It is frustrating and difficult. Reporters are constantly called upon to use their wit and imagination, to think of where information is and who has it — and then to persuade those who have it to give it up. Reporters do not have subpoena power. They cannot compel sources to part with their information.
So a reporter must sell the source on the importance of what the reporter is doing.
None of that is easy.
But reporting, hard as it is, can also be fun and exciting. It can take a young person to places he or she would never see otherwise. It can put the reporter in touch with the most interesting people on earth. It gives the reporter a front-row seat on the human condition.
It’s not always a pretty picture, but it is almost inevitably interesting and enlightening.
Table of Contents
Contributors to this book 7
Tennessee Journalism Series 8
1. Journalistic reporting 9
1.1 Information 10
1.2 Accuracy 14
1.3 Verification 18
1.4 Sources 22
1.5 Credibility 26
1.6 Professionalism 30
1.7 Interviewing 34
1.8 Public information 39
1.9 Observation 43
1.10 Linking 47
1.11 Confidentiality 51
1.12 Ethics: Covering tragedy 55
2. Deadline reporting 58
2.1 Types of stories 59
2.2 Covering breaking news 61
2.3 Instructors: Preparing your students to cover breaking news 64
2.4 The UT experience 66
3. Tools of reporting 68
3.1 Writing 69
3.2 Charts and maps 72
3.3 Photojournalism 81
3.3 Audio journalism 84
3.5 Video journalism 92
4. Exercises and assignments 105
4.1 Audio slideshow assignment 105
4.2 Writing a VO (voice over) story for video 109
4.3 Facts for a story: Fuel efficiency 111
4.4 Building a story with public data 113
4.5 Video interview 115
4.6 Scavenger Hunt: Sources 116
4.7 Sex Offenders Registry 117
4.8 Beginning-of-the-term audio slideshow 119
4.9 Scavenger Hunt: Public records 120
4.10 Scavenger Hunt: Photos 121
5. The First Amendment 122
5.1 Religion 123
5.2 Speech 125
5.3 Press 127
5.4 Assembly 131
5.5 Petition 132
5.6 History 134
Tennessee Journalism Series 8
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