Help me help you in the next edition of the reporting book


I always laugh when people say, “Gee, it must be NICE to get a couple weeks off at Christmas time so you can just lounge around…” What actually happens is, I stop teaching for a couple weeks, all my students leave me alone for a while and I go to the office to actually get some work done.

Somewhere in the middle of the hellscape that was this year, the folks at SAGE decided the “Dynamics of News Reporting and Writing” had managed not to embarrass anyone at the company, so a second edition was in order. I’m sure I agreed to do this at some point, with the same, “Oh.. Yeah… Sure…” response I give my kid when she’s asking me for something while I’m in the middle of 11 other things, but it’s all kind of a blur.

I never liked the idea of new textbook editions that slapped a new cover on an old book, subbed in the word “digital” where the word “newspaper” used to be and called it ready to go. If you’re gonna have to buy this thing, I better make it worth your while.

To that point, here are a few things that I’m already planning to stick in this thing, based on what some of you have already told me:

  • Major chunks of what “fake news” really is (how we define it, what people think when they read it, why people make it, why we believe it, what we can do about it as reporters and how not to get snowed).
  • More simple exercises in the book. I picked through a bunch of suggestions you all made and added even more in the “Work it Out” section that comes at the bottom of each chapter.
  • More free stuff: I’m putting more stuff on the blog each time I figure out something helpful.
  • “Best of the Blog” in each chapter. I find there’s a bimodal distribution in how people see the blog: I’m not doing enough or I’m drowning them in too much stuff. For the former people, I got nothing. For those of you looking for a few good posts, I’ve included a “Best of the Blog” element in each chapter that talks about something key within that chapter.
  • Freelancing 101: Someone told me my book would be perfect IF I just had something in there on freelancing. I built several blog posts on this, but now I’ve redone the whole thing as an extra appendix in the back. (I’m quite certain it still isn’t perfect, as we can always find something to be unhappy about. Just ask my kid who wanted an Apple Watch for Christmas…)

I’m sure there’s more going in here, but that’s what comes to mind at this point. Beyond this, tell me more stuff either by contacting me here, by placing comments at the bottom of this post or finding me online and yelling at me that I’m not doing something right. I respond to all of these.

In the mean time, the blog is on hiatus until the start of the next semester in late January.

May you all have a happy and joyous holiday season.

Vince (a.k.a. The Doctor of Paper)

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