USC Annenberg Online Journalism ReviewUSC

"Telling the Story: Writing for Print, Broadcast and Online Media"
Texts for Teaching
Online Journalism
Introduction to the Books
Jim Hall's "Online Journalism"
Mike Ward's "Journalism Online"
De Wolk's "Introduction to Online Journalism"
John V. Pavlik's "Journalism and New Media"
Garrand's "Writing for Multimedia and the Web"
Price's "Hot Text: Web Writing That Works"
"Telling the Story: Writing for Print, Broadcast and Online Media"
Lanson & Fought's "News in a New Century"
Seib's "Going Live"
The Missouri Group, Bedford/St. Martin's, Boston, 2001: 365 pages, spiral-bound

This introductory reporting text, written by four educators at the Missouri School of Journalism (U.S.), addresses the needs of the first reporting course in many journalism programs. As most similar texts do, this one covers the structure of the media industry, skills such as interviewing, media law and ethics; the bulk of the text focuses on reporting and writing. The "Media Writing" section includes three chapters on writing for radio and TV, public relations and online, but no separate chapter on newspapers or magazines -- which makes me wonder whether all other chapters of the book assume a print outlet.

The authors deal with the Internet and online media at four places in the book (about 30 pages total). The material is solid, if somewhat perfunctory. Chapter 13, "Writing Online," serves as an excellent introduction and provides very clear advice on what differentiates writing for online from writing for print. I would question whether it provides enough, however, for an instructor new to these ideas. Example: "When you can't put things into lists, you can still organize them into chunks of information. Put information into sidebars or boxes" (page 288). Easy to say, but less easy to do effectively. The authors recognize that online stories "must be organized in a logical, coherent way" (page 282), but how do we help students achieve that, when much of today's journalism online still falls short?

To be fair, I did not examine the workbook or the instructor's manual available as ancillaries to this text, and perhaps they provide more concrete instructions.

Bottom line: Good text for a traditional first reporting course, but not ideal for a "converged" reporting course or a course focused on online journalism.

'News in a New Century: Reporting in an Age of Converging Media'

To "News in a New Century" ...