In the literary masterpiece, Shop Talk and War Stories by Jan Winburn, various journalists share their different experiences in the field of journalism. These experiences cover the commencement of news room jobs, the science of reporting, the art of interviewing, writing, beat reporting, investigative reporting, story types, broadcast journalism, computer assisted reporting, what is, ethical journalism, and certain issues that arise on the job of being a journalist. For each topic, several professional journalists share their experiences of their career that relate to that particular topic. In Chapter 1, various journalists share stories about their commencements into their respectable news rooms. In Rick Bragg’s piece, Chicken Killers and True Heartbreak, he talks about how he caught his first big break as a reporter. After a few years of being a reporter for the Birmingham News, in Possum Trot, Alabama, he found a job at the St. Petersburg Times, in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Although, it was a dream come true for Rick, his beginning at St. Petersburg Times was anything but ideal. His assignment required him to do a story on a serial chicken killer.
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Although he felt that doing a story on Mopsy the chicken was beneath him, he completed the story and won over the respect of his fellow employees. After completing the story, he also received a promotion and started doing serious stories. No matter how foolish a story may seem, if one is able to do enough of them and pay their dues, that person will enjoy better times in the future.
In Anna Quidlen’s Hearts and Minds, she talks about how reporters should respect and feel for the people they cover. Although the main objective of a reporter is to report, respect is also needed to when dealing with people. She talks about how she is both proud and ashamed to report because it deals with opening people up to talk about tragedies sometime. While she is only listening to a person’s story to make a story of her own she also understands why she has to do. She understands that she has to write these stories in order to shed light on certain topics to enlighten readers. Ultimately, she knows and believes that she does more good than harm. Furthermore, this fact is something every new journalist should keep in mind.
In Garrick Utley’s Initiation, he gets a job at NBC News, working for John Chancellor. Although the job’s salary was less than meager, it still represented an opportunity was priceless. He was made John Chancellor’s personal assistant, coffee maker, bill payer, and NBC Radio stringer in Brussels.
As a result of accepting his role for six months, he caught a break and received an opportunity to work on camera. Although he needed a few takes to get the segment right, he had finally gained the respect of his employers. In Joseph Lelyveld’s A Life Not In frequently Thrilling, he started out as a student in Journalism school and ended up as an foreign correspondent at The New York Times. The fact that he traveled to Burma did wonders for his career and planted his foot in the door. Although he did have the perfect credentials, he had been places and wrote about his experiences. The New York Times editing job set him up for many of his exciting ventures in the future, including his trip to South Africa. Sometimes, success is not only based on what you know, but who you know and where you been.
In Chapter 2, the topic of reporting and how to report accurately are discussed by various professional Journalists. In Steve Woodward’s Power Tools, he break’s down the steps to write a successful news story. He is given 36 hours to come up with a news story about how the merger took place between U.
S. Bancorp and First Bank Systems Inc. His first two steps required him to ask himself all the questions that needed to be addressed in the report and to put all of the information the two companies in a binder. After he organized the material, he found sources to gather the information on the two companies’ transactions and establish contact with the actual subject of the report.
After establishing his reporting tools, he establishes how he is going to put the gathered information on paper. Furthermore, he chooses a select writing style, and figures out how he is going to describe certain events, while keeping his language very descriptive. In Jay Matthews’ Just Checking, he expresses why accuracy in a story is important. Errors in stories not only make the writers look bad, they hinder the reputation of the company they work for. However, sometimes the errors in paper simply cannot be spotted by the writer or editor.
In order to avoid having errors in his report, he allows his source to read his report before it is published. In Journalism, allowing sources to read rough drafts is not acceptable. Reporters run the risk of sources attempting to make them look good in exchange for the report’s credibility..