Writing and Reporting for the Media 12th Edition by John Bender, ISBN-13: 978-0190649425


Writing and Reporting for the Media 12th Edition by John Bender, ISBN-13: 978-0190649425

[PDF eBook eTextbook]

  • Publisher: ‎ Oxford University Press; 12th edition (October 1, 2018)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • 512 pages
  • ISBN-10: ‎ 0190649429
  • ISBN-13: ‎ 978-0190649425

A fundamental introduction to newswriting and reporting, this text focuses on the basics of reporting, including critical thinking, thorough reporting, excellent writing and creative visual communication skills. With digital journalism covered throughout the text and additional exercises in a brand new workbook, Writing and Reporting for the Media is the most up-to-date, realistic and applied text available.

Table of Contents:


Section I. The Tools of Journalism

Chapter 1. Journalism Today

Technology and Journalism

Types of News

Evolution of the News Business

Journalism as a Profession

Journalism Competencies

The Modern Journalist

Journalism Style

AP Stylebook

Journalism Terms


Copy Format

The Writing Coach: The “N.E.R.D.” Factor in Getting a Job

Chapter 2 Selecting and Reporting the News

News Characteristics and News Elements


Impact or Magnitude





Other Characteristics

The Nature of the Medium and the Community

Types of News

The Concept of Objectivity

What Is Not Newsworthy?

Offensive Details



Sexual Assault

Names of Juveniles

Trade Names

The Importance of Accuracy

Accuracy in Facts

Accuracy in Names

Accuracy Is a Priority

Guest Columnist: Why I Stayed at a Small-Town Newspaper

The Reporter’s Guide to Accuracy

Review Exercises

Chapter 3. Newswriting Style

Simplify Words, Sentences and Paragraphs

Eliminate Unnecessary Words


Remain Objective

Respecting Diversity




Avoid Stereotyping Other Groups

Additional Newswriting Considerations for Digital Media

The Reporter’s Guide to Newswriting Style

Review Exercises

Chapter 4. The Language of News

The Effectiveness of Words

Mastering Grammar



Independent and Dependent Clauses

Active and Passive Voice


Common Grammatical Errors

Run-on Sentences

Comma Splice

Agreement Errors

“That”-“Which” Confusion

“Who”-“Whom” Confusion

Misplaced Modifiers

Dangling Modifiers






Writing like a Pro


Be Precise

Use Strong Verbs

Problems to Avoid

Overuse of Adjectives and Adverbs



Technical Language and Jargon



Stating the Obvious

First-Person References

Negative Constructions



Vague Time References

Use of the Present Tense

Avoid Excessive Punctuation

The Writing Coach: Become a Power Lifter When Picking Verbs

The Reporter’s Guide to the Language of News

Review Exercises

Section II. The Law and Ethics of Journalism

Chapter 5. Libel, Privacy and Newsgathering Issues


The Elements of a Libel Suit

Who Is a Public Official? Who Is a Public Figure?

Major Defenses to Libel Suits

Steps for Avoiding Libel Suits



Giving Publicity to Private Facts

False Light


Newsgathering Issues

Access to Nonjudicial Events and Records

Access to Judicial Proceedings

Confidentiality for Sources and Information

Review Exercises

Chapter 6 Ethics

Codes of Ethics

Ethical Decision Making

Who and How Many? (Two Questions)

What Is the Purpose of the Story? (Two Follow-Up Questions)

Can I Explain My Decision? (Six Questions)

The Potter Box

News Media Credibility Considerations

Ethics Issues Regarding Conduct

Plagiarizing and Fabricating Information: Never Acceptable

Finding Sources

Recording Interviews: Audio Recorders and Video Cameras

Eliminating Conflicts of Interest

Maintaining Objectivity

Interviewing Victims

Respecting Privacy of Sources

Avoiding Deceit: Posing and Misrepresentation

Witnessing Crimes and Disasters

Ethics Issues Regarding Content

Avoiding Speculation: Get the Facts and Provide Accurate Context

Using Visuals: Newsworthy or Sensational?

Altering Images

Deciding When to Name Names

Covering Killers

Reporting on Public Figures and Celebrities

Reporting Rumors and Speculation

Reporting on Terrorism

Publishing Ads

The Writing Coach: Journalists Should Understand: Victims Face Wall of Grief

Review Exercises

Section III. The Basic Skills of Journalism

Chapter 7. Basic News Leads


Identifying the Central Point

Story Outlines

Planning the Digital Story

The Summary News Lead

Sentence Structure in Leads

Guidelines for Writing Effective Leads

Be Concise

Be Specific

Use Strong, Active Verbs

Emphasize the Magnitude of the Story

Stress the Unusual

Localize and Update

Be Objective and Attribute Opinions

Strive for Simplicity

Some Common Errors

Beginning with the Attribution

Minimizing the News

Using Agenda Leads

Using Label Leads

Listing Details

Stating the Obvious

Reporting the Negative


Distorting the Story

Following All the Rules

Forgetting Your Audience

Using the First Draft

The Writing Coach: Oh Where, Oh Where Does the Time Element Go?

The Reporter’s Guide to Writing Leads

Review Exercises

Chapter 8. Alternative Leads


Types of Alternative Leads

“Buried” or “Delayed” Leads

Multiparagraph Leads

Quotation Leads

Question Leads

Suspenseful Leads

Descriptive Leads

Shockers: Leads with a Twist

Ironic Leads

Direct-Address Leads

Words Used in Unusual Ways

Other Unusual Leads

The Reporter’s Guide to Writing Alternative Leads

Review Exercises

Chapter 9 The Body of a News Story

The Inverted-Pyramid Style

Organizing the Information

Writing the Second Paragraph

Ending the Story

Complex Stories

The Hourglass Style

The Focus Style

The Narrative Style

Using Transitions

Explain the Unfamiliar

The Importance of Examples

The Use of Description

The Need to Be Fair

The Final Step: Edit Your Story

The Writing Coach: How to Find the Right Endings to Stories

The Reporter’s Guide to Writing News Stories

Review Exercises

Chapter 10 Quotations and Attribution


When to Use Direct Quotations

When to Use Indirect Quotations

When to Use Partial Quotations

When Sources Seek Quote Approval

Blending Quotations and Narrative

Explaining Quotations

To Change or Not to Change Quotations

Deleting Profanities



The Purpose of Attribution

Statements That Require Attribution

Guidelines for the Placement and Frequency of Attribution

Direct Quotations

Partial Quotations

Indirect Quotations

Word Choice in Attributing Statements

Identifying Sources

The Writing Coach: Do You Use Said Enough?

The Reporter’s Guide to Quotations and Attribution

Review Exercises

Chapter 11. Interviewing

Preparing for the Interview

Selecting Interview Sources

How Many Sources Are Enough?

Researching Sources and Topics

Preparing Questions for the Interview

Conducting the Interview

Selecting a Location

Organizing the Questions

Dealing with Reluctant Sources and Asking Tough Questions

Special Situations

Taking Notes

Recording Interviews

Final Thoughts

Writing the Interview Story

Guest Columnist: Interviewing Three People about a Deadly Accident

The Reporter’s Guide to Interviewing

Review Exercises

Chapter 12 Feature Stories

Finding Story Ideas and Gathering Information

Parts of Feature Stories

The Lead of a Feature Story

The Body of a Feature Story

The Ending of a Feature Story

Types of Feature Stories

Profiles or Personality Features

Historical Features

Adventure Features

Seasonal Features

Explanatory Features

How-To-Do-It Features

Occupation or Hobby Features

Behind-the-Scenes Features

Participatory Features

Other Types of Feature Stories

The Reporter’s Guide to Features

Review Exercises

Chapter 13. Writing for Broadcast News

The Broadcast News Story


The Hard Lead

The Soft Lead

The Throwaway Lead

The Umbrella Lead

The Body of a Story

Updating Broadcast News Stories

Guidelines for Copy Preparation

Formatting Copy

Editing Copy

Timing Copy

Reviewing Copy

Story Length

Story Script

Using Audio

Using Video

Sources for Broadcast News

News Services

Newspapers, Online News and Broadcast News Sources

Public Relations News Releases


Broadcast Interviews

Writing the Broadcast Story

Writing for the Audience

Writing for Your Announcer

Being a Broadcast Journalist

The Reporter’s Guide to Broadcast News Writing Style

Review Exercises

Chapter 14 Visual Journalism

The Roots of Visual Journalism

Visual Journalism Today

Ethics of Visual Journalism

The Digital News Package

Capturing Photographs

Capturing Video

Creating Good Video

Capturing Audio

Required Technology

Digital Video Recorder

Digital Camera

Digital Audio Recorder

The Reporter’s Guide to Visual Journalism

Review Exercises

Section IV. Applying the Skills of Journalism

Chapter 15. Speeches and Meetings

Advance Stories

Covering the Speech of Meeting

Follow Stories

Organizing Speech or Meeting Stories

Writing Effective Leads

Writing Transitions

Remember Your Audience

Check Facts

Adding Color

Report What You Hear

Describe What You See

The Writing Coach: The Expectations of Public Officials towardJournalists

The Reporter’s Guide to Reporting Speeches and Meetings

Review Exercises

Chapter 16 Brights, Follow-Ups, Roundups, Sidebars and Obituaries






Writing the Biographical Obituary

Writing the Feature Obituary

The Reporter’s Guide to Writing Brights, Follow-Ups, Roundups, Sidebars and Obituaries

Review Exercises

Chapter 17. Public Affairs Reporting

Crime and Accidents

Police Sources

Key Police Documents

Respecting Victims

Writing the Crime or Accident Story

Words and Phrases to Avoid

Local Government

City and County Governments

School Districts


General Information about the Court System

Criminal Cases

Civil Cases

Guest Columnist: Developing Sources on the Police Beat

Guest Columnist: Journalists Deliver the Information the Public Needs

The Reporter’s Guide to Public Affairs Reporting

Review Exercises

Chapter 18. Introduction to Investigative Reporting

What Is Investigative Reporting?

Whom and What to Investigate

Developing an Investigative Story

The Story Idea


Planning the Story

Gathering Documents

Developing Sources

The Investigative Interview

Writing the Investigative Story

Using Technology in Investigative Reporting

Using Computers to Get Answers

Using Social Media

Using Statistics

Ethical Issues in Investigative Reporting

Guest Columnist: Developing Investigative Story Ideas

The Reporter’s Guide to Investigative Reporting

Review Exercises

Chapter 19. Journalism and Public Relations

What Is PR?

PR Agencies

Corporate, Nonprofit and Government PR

Working with News Media

Advance Stories

Event Stories


Discoveries and Results

Tips for Effective News Releases

List a Contact Person and a Follow-Up

Send the Release on Time

Use Journalism’s Five W’s

Write Well

Localize Information

Provide Visuals

Provide Links

From the Journalist’s Perspective: Working with Press Releases

The No. 1 Problem: Lack of Newsworthiness

Limited Interest

Contrived Events

Rewriting for Newsworthiness

Rewriting for Wordiness

The No. 2 Problem: Lack of Objectivity


Eliminating Laudatory Adjectives and Puffery

Telling the Public What to Do

Other Problems with News Releases

Stating the Obvious

Absence of Solid Facts

One-Sided Stories

The Reporter’s Guide to Public Relations

Review Exercises

Appendix A. City Directory

Appendix B. Summary of AP Style

Appendix C. Rules for Forming Possessives

Appendix D. Answer Key

Credit Lines


John Bender is Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Lucinda Davenport is Professor of Journalism at Michigan State University.

Michael Drager is Assistant Professor of Journalism at Shippensburg University.

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