This innovative book is the first to identify and describe the systematic process that drives the day-to-day work of writers in the real world of print and broadcast journalism, public relations and advertising. The key to creative problem solution for both simple and complex assignments in media work is engagingly detailed in this thought-provoking guide. Users of this book will learn how to fulfill assignments and write copy that meets an editor's or client's expectations, speaks to the intended audience, stands up to question, and remains in memory.
The author skillfully blends tested processes from science and art to equip the student with the tools of self-management and the techniques of disciplined creativity that defend against erroneous judgment. Recognizing the role of problem solving in media and the primacy of critical thinking at all stages of the writing process -- from preparatory measures to final writing -- the author challenges the assumption that discipline and creativity are incompatible partners. That partnership is described in detail, then dramatized with absorbing examples and illustrations drawn from interviews with experienced practitioners in print and broadcast journalism, public relations and advertising. Each chapter is a discovery of how this reliable partnership for solving writing problems in media applies to both anticipated and unexpected communication situations. Making known what media professionals have learned through trial and error on the job, here is a thinking and writing dynamic that students, new hires, and aspiring free-lancers can now acquire before entering the world of print or broadcast journalism, public relations or advertising.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface. On Being a Mass Media Writer. Stating the Problem, Issue, or Question. Backgrounding and Researching the Problem. The Working Statement. Evaluating the Research: General Materials. Evaluating the Research: Scientific Reports. Designing the Interview Plan: It's in Your Collected Data. Designing The Interview Plan: The Secret Is in the Asking. Conducting the Interview. Organizing and Coding the Data: Getting Ready for Analysis. Analyzing the Data: Making Sense of it All. Presenting and Writing the Copy: Putting it All Together. Epilogue: Looking Back. Appendices: Some Do's About Writing and Editing. Writing the Technical/Instructional Video Script. The Free-Lance Project. Career Backgrounds of Interviewed Media Professionals.
"Parsigian's work is an important contribution....It goes beyond the traditional approach....makes good use of extensive case studies from current professionals."
"...valuable for many university journalism or communications departments because it should have strong appeal for public relations, advertising, and news/editorial students....Parsigian is a former journalist and public relations and advertising writer, and her book reflects her full range of experience. Another strength of the book is the lists she uses throughout. They are good condensations of important points and good 'memory jogs' for beginning writers."
"...inspiring. I'm impressed by the parallels between your sensible guidance to news reporters and the rules of evidence and inference that careful social researchers bring into play. You get students down-to-earth, writing sentences that convey the heart of information and that move the narrative briskly along."
University of Southern California
"...goes a step beyond traditional reporting texts. It identifies thinking as the critical foundation for success in news gathering and writing. It seeks to teach students the values of anticipation, preparation, planning, evaluation, analysis and challenge in pursuing a story. The student who acquires these journalistic qualities is not likely to trip over such common journalistic failures as inaccuracy, manipulation by sources, lack of knowledge or hesitancy about asking the tough question."
—Robert H. Giles
Editor and Publisher, The Detroit News
...excellent....The book presents writing as a craft one can learn, not as a magical creative process that involves a certain amount of inspiration and other silly elements. I believe this book will be helpful not only to the beginner, but also to the professional who may want to think about what he or she is doing in a more organized manner."
—Richard A. Wright
Wayne State University
"...de-mystifies in a practical and sensible set of directions, the purpose and practice of interviewing....The clear, straightforward language in which this book is written throughout is itself a model for good teaching."
—Barbra S. Morris
University of Michigan
...an intriguing departure from most textbooks that emphasize how to get and present news but rarely explain why. Dr. Parsigian breaks the process down into carefully analyzed, logical steps that offer sound, critical guidance to a journalism student or young mass media writer. Her research on the procedural similarities between news, advertising and public relations work are particularly impressive."
University of Michigan