Weird Ways of News.

Weird Ways of NewsIntroduction

Most of us take a dose of news daily, supplied in a variety of forms. We seldom really consider how it's made.

But certainly news consumption can change us in some alarming ways. Perhaps we need a disclaimer:

News is a manufactured product. It is not a meeting, accident, hurricane, speech or mall walk. It may, however, be fabricated from these or other events. It may contain hidden interpretations, judgments, manipulations, and errors. These products have been shown to cause occasional emotional upset and, rarely, a need to vomit. Consumer discretion is advised.

This book aims to help you understand and digest news with less upset. More than that, it aims to help you understand how to make your own news. You can do that either as reporter or as source, the person who gives reporters information.

Furthermore, this book aims to help you to understand why so much of our news reaches beyond our verbal literacy, our ability to analyze words and their meanings. That's because so much of news is visual. And we are generally not visually literate.

The book may complement a standard basic journalism text. But it also presumes everybody will become part of a news manufacturing process sometime in their lives. Because most people who take a class, hold a job, lead a club, pursue some hobbies or just go about their everyday business will sooner or later interact with the news media. This guide will help you to understand those interactions. And, as noted in Chapter Eight: to know is to have power.

A Guide to the Chapters

Chapter One: News Is a Manufactured Product.
What we value, how those values are made into news. Evaluate your own news using Ross's handy News Value-ator!

Chapter Two: A View of Reality.
Your life, as defined by your news media. Evaluate using Ross's trusty news-pie chart!

Chapter Three: Negotiating the News.
Creating news from an interview is a process of negotiation, reporter and source. Who has the power? Depends.

Chapter Four: Playing Catch with News Hounds.
How to handle an interview, as a reporter or as a source. Tricks reporters like. Tricks sources like.

Chapter Five: Manufacture Your Own News. Snag 'em and Drag 'em.
How to sort out the jumble. Use Ross's SAVE Formula for better news.

Chapter Six: You Know What You See.
We see what we learn to see. We see what we're told to see. How visual literacy relates to news.

Chapter Seven: The Pain and the Dread.
Why news writing ought to be fun. Smoothing the path, favorite themes, more tools to improve your writing.

Chapter Eight: The Dark Side and Luke Newsmonger.
The ethics of power. Money and prestige.

About Ross F. Collins

Ross F. Collins is a professor of communication at North Dakota State University, Fargo. He has written four books and many academic articles on media and media history. He is a former photojournalist, news writer, editor, and public relations practitioner. See a full biography.

By the way...

This sidebar gives you definitions of journalism jargon, background and (possibly useful) asides.

Find out more!
Now available: Editing Across Media. Content and Process for Print and Online Publication (Ross F. Collins, editor).