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Dynamics of News Reporting and Writing

Dynamics of News Reporting and Writing
Foundational Skills for a Digital Age

Second Edition

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January 2021 | 392 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Dynamics of News Reporting and Writing: Foundational Skills for a Digital Age shows students how to approach their stories and think on their feet in the evolving media landscape. Recognizing that well-crafted stories are founded on sharp prose, author Vincent F. Filak covers more foundational elements of a newswriting textbook, like lead writing, structure, and storytelling, while also teaching students how to think critically and determine what matters most to their readers. The Second Edition includes even more writing and grammar exercises, discussions of social media and digital media advancements, and additional career-related examples to help students succeed upon entering the field.   

About the Authors
Chapter 1: Audience-Centric Journalism
Thinking Ahead: Understand Your Audience

Media and Media Users Today

Defining Your Audience

The Rise and Impact of the “Fake News” Phenomenon

What Do We Owe Our Audience?

What Attracts an Audience?

The Big Three

Best of the Blog

Chapter 2: Critical Thinking
Thinking Ahead: How to Fully “Get” a Story

How Do We Think?

The Requirements of Critical Thought

How to Approach a Story as a Critical Thinker

How to Think Your Way Past Fake News

Critical Thought and the Value of Your Questions

The Big Three

Best of the Blog

Chapter 3: Basics of Writing
Thinking Ahead: Writing for a Newsreader

A Quick Look at Types of Leads

Identifying Problematic Leads and Finding Potential Fixes

The Inverted Pyramid: Ordering Information After the Lead

Quotes: Letting Your Sources Tell the Story

Attributing Your Information

The Big Three

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Chapter 4: Expanded News Writing
Thinking Ahead: Learning to Break the Rules of Writing

Expanding the Inverted Pyramid

Writing With a Narrative Feel

Nonlinear Storytelling

The Big Three

Best of the Blog

Chapter 5: Social Media
Thinking Ahead: Rethinking How to Reach Readers

What Is Social Media?

Value of Social Media

Social Media Tools for Your Toolbox


The Big Three

Best of the Blog

Chapter 6: Interviewing
Thinking Ahead: Avoiding the Awkwardness While Speaking to Others

Critically Thinking About Interviewing’s Purpose

Understanding the Interviewing Basics

Types of Interviews

Other Purposes for Interviews

The Big Three

Best of the Blog

Chapter 7: Basic Reporting: News That Finds You
Thinking Ahead: Getting Ready to Hit the Field

Reporting Basics

Event Coverage

Basic Tips for All Event Stories

Stories Beyond Standard Events

The Big Three

Best of the Blog

Chapter 8: Beyond Basic Reporting: News You Have to Find
Thinking Ahead: How to Find Bigger Stories That Matter

The News Feature: How to Find Stories in Everyday Life

Beat Reporting

Drone Journalism

Personality Profiles

Working as a Watchdog

The Big Three

Best of the Blog

Chapter 9: Broadcast-Style Writing and Voicing
Thinking Ahead: Writing Scripts and Building Stories

Broadcast Style: Different, Yet the Same

Script Writing 101

The Basic Elements of Broadcast Structure

Story Types and Formats

The Big Three

Best of the Blog

Chapter 10: Collecting Audio and Visuals in the Field
Thinking Ahead: How to Get Enough Material to Build a Good Story

Tools of the Trade

Types of Material You Gather

Capturing Vivid Visuals

Making Your Video Valuable

The Big Three

Best of the Blog

Chapter 11: Editing Audio and Video
Thinking Ahead: Editing Your Raw Material Into a Polished Gem

Audio Bites Online

Video Bites Online

Pairing Script and Video

Building a Story From Start to Finish

The Big Three

Best of the Blog

Chapter 12: Law and the Media
Thinking Ahead: The Law Is Your Friend

Understanding the First Amendment

Law Across Media Platforms: Levels of Protection

Reporter’s Privilege

Let the Sunshine In: Rules for Transparency and Access

Rules for Recording

The Basics of Libel

Defenses Against Libel

Invasion of Privacy

The Big Three

Best of the Blog

Chapter 13: Ethics
Thinking Ahead: Just Because You Can, It Doesn’t Mean You Should

Why Ethics Matter

Basic Approaches to Ethics

Tenets of Journalistic Ethics

The Big Three

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Appendix A: Using FOCII to Build Your Leads
Appendix B: Résumés, Cover Letters and More
Appendix C: A Deeper Dig Into FOIA and State Public Records Laws
Appendix D: Step-by-Step Editing Processes for Final Cut and Premiere
Appendix E: Freelancing 101 (and Beyond)


Instructor Site

Online resources included with this text

The online resources for your text are available via the password-protected Instructor Resource Site, which offers access to all text-specific resources, including a test bank, editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides, news writing exercises, and sample syllabi.
Student Study Site
The open-access Student Study Site makes it easy for students to maximize their study time, anywhere, anytime. It offers flashcards, AP Style quizzes, and learning objectives that reinforce the most important material.
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Text is very approachable for students and has up-to-date examples. Highly recommend.

Ms Shailin Alisha Kennedy
Communication Studies, College Of The Sequoias
March 17, 2022

Chose different approach for the class -- and Filak's other book, Media Writing, with its broader focus including PR and Broadcast rather than just Journalism.

Dr Jennifer Rauch
Journalism Dept, Long Island University
November 18, 2022

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