1st Edition

Getting the Whole Story
Reporting and Writing the News

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ISBN 9781572307957
Published September 26, 2002 by Guilford Press
451 Pages

USD $65.00

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Book Description

This comprehensive introductory text combines the whys of journalism with the how-tos. Students are guided toward mastery of the finer points of reporting, beat coverage, and news writing, while also gaining awareness of the important role journalists serve in a democratic society. Rich with pointers, examples, hands-on exercises, and thoughtful discussion questions, and written in an engaging, down-to-earth style, the book reflects the authors' extensive experience in both the newsroom and the classroom. Chapters provide step-by-step coverage of every aspect of the reporter's craft: gathering information; conducting interviews; framing stories; writing clear, well-organized articles; and working with editors and photographers. Helping students understand what makes news relevant and useful to the broader community, the book gives particular attention to the values and practices of civic journalism.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Journalist's Role in Society
Something to Think About: The Loneliness of the Street-Corner Orator
Chapter 2: What Journalists Do
Truth Is No Stranger . . .
Chapter 3: How News Writing Is Different
Chapter 4: The Community as a Context for the News
Learning from Experience: Community Knowledge
Chapter 5: Reporting Basic, Informative News Stories
Chapter 6: Writing Basic, Informative News Stories
Story Portfolio: Basic News Stories
Chapter 7: Framing News Stories
Branding the News
Chapter 8: Interviewing
A Poem by R.D. Laing: From Knots
Chapter 9: Observation, Curiosity and Note-Taking
Chapter 10: Adding Photos, Graphics and Other Visual Elements
Chapter 11: General Assignment Reporting
Chapter 12: Covering a Beat
Chapter 13: In-Depth Stories
Chapter 14: Journalists' Rights and Responsibilities
Chapter 15: Getting a Job -- and Keeping It
The Life of a Reporter
Appendix A: Newspaper Jobs
Appendix B: Common Mistakes and Unnecessary Words
Appendix C: Commonly Misspelled Words
Appendix D: A Quick Guide for Covering Emergencies
Appendix E: Journalists' Creeds, Platforms and Codes of Ethics
Appendix F: Glossary

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Cheryl Gibbs is an assistant professor of journalism at Earlham College. Before joining the Earlham faculty in 1993, she was a cops-and-courts reporter, arts writer, features editor, regional editor, city editor, and weekend news editor at two small daily newspapers.

Tom Warhover is an associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the executive editor of the Columbia Missourian. Previously, he was a reporter and editor at The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot, a 200,000 circulation daily newspaper.


This is an extraordinarily useful text. The authors demonstrate the ability to explain philosophical issues simply and clearly, yet with remarkable depth. They also offer superb coverage of the reflection that good practitioners engage in and the nuts and bolts of craft. I recommend this book unequivocally as a cornerstone text for introductory reporting courses, with or without a civic or public orientation.--Lewis A. Friedland, University of Wisconsin, Madison

This book provides a great introduction to reporting. The authors show how the principles of civic journalism can be put into practice in the reporter's everyday work, and offer many helpful tips that could only have come from experienced practitioners. The final chapters are exceptional in their coverage of current trends and innovations, including literary journalism and computer-assisted journalism.--Hugh Morgan, Miami University, Oxford, OH

If you were going to redesign America's troubled practice of journalism from the bottom up, this would be the blueprint. The authors have combined theory and practice in an accessible and pragmatic book that sets journalism students off on the right track for 21st-century needs and circumstances.--Davis Buzz Merritt, author of Public Journalism and Public Life

At last! A basic newswriting textbook that tells students why their work as journalists matters. Cheryl Gibbs and Tom Warhover's beautifully written book features top-notch writing instruction and imaginative exercises. But, more important, it explains how journalism, when done well, can help sustain our sense of community and citizenship. The Whole Story is a groundbreaking accomplishment.--John Pauly, Department of Communication, Saint Louis University

This engaging introductory text covers the fundamentals of news reporting in a way that inspires as well as instructs aspiring journalists. Getting the Whole Story is striking in its breadth, providing sensible reporting advice that spans from the basic '5 Ws' to consideration of news frames and journalism as a collaborative enterprise. But what really distinguishes this text is its focus on how journalism can make a difference in people's lives. Without being preachy, the authors integrate the values and practices of civic journalism with traditional news-gathering strategies. The result is a practical text that seeks to nurture journalism's highest qualities.--Scott R. Maier, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon