Writing for the Mass Media

Welcome to the web site for the ninth edition of Writing for the Mass Media.

Writing for the Mass Media is a text written to introduce students to the various basic forms of writing for the mass media and to the professional requirements of writing in a media environment.

The book was first published in 1984 and has since been used as a text in more than 450 colleges and universities, as well as in many high school and technical school classrooms.WFMM9-cover

This web site is designed to help students and instructors use the book more effectively and to offer additional material.

Much of what is on this site is also included in the instructor’s manual, which is available from the Allyn and Bacon web site for those who have adopted the book. (If you are an instructor using the text in your class, you should contact an Allyn and Bacon representative for your area or get in touch with the publisher directly.) The instructor’s manual also contains other material for the instructor’s use.

The author’s web site that includes many additional resources is JPROF.com. You are invited to take a look and use any material that you find helpful.

Please let us know if you have comments or suggestions about this site.

A note to instructors

The course for which Writing for the Mass Media was written is often described as a mile broad and an inch deep. If you are convinced of the need to allow students to sample the skills involved in distinct forms of the media, to participate in exercises whereby students can understand how each skill relates to all media, and to gain a measure of their competence in other media professions, then an introductory writing course must be part of your curriculum.

Two important concepts should guide your teaching of this course. First you must teach those things that make each form of the media distinct. Second, you must emphasize the commonalities that all media share.

Each medium presents distinct formats and forms that all professionals should appreciate. One goal of this book is to give our students that appreciation. That is tough to do if the students are allowed to feel that understanding each form as distinct means that one form has no relevance to the others.

Good writing in all forms is easily recognizable. Achieving mastery in writing depends upon the willingness of the student to learn. But student attitude alone is never sufficient. Just as the techniques of good writing can be learned through diligence and application, there is a corollary emphasis on the techniques of teaching those skills. Teaching writing takes skill, patience, intelligence, and hard work. Much of the material included in this manual is drawn from two decades of experience teaching writing courses and in conducting writing workshops for professional groups.

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Denny Chimes, University of Alabama

If you find any mistakes on this site or have any comments, please let me hear from you. Contact me directly by writing to School of Journalism and Electronic Media, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, or you can email me at stovall at utk.edu. I am always interested in your comments about the book, the web site, the instructor’s manual, and the way you tackle the difficult business of teaching writing.

The University of Tennessee is the third place from which I have produced editions of Writing for the Mass Media. The other two were the University of Alabama or Emory & Henry College.

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Miller Hall, Emory and Henry College

I “retired” from the University of Alabama in 2003 after 25 years of teaching there and moved to Emory and Henry College, a small Methodist liberal arts college in the Appalachian Mountains, about 25 miles north of the Tennessee state line, where I was a visiting professor of mass communications.

In 2006 I joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where I teach beginning news writing and web journalism. I remain a part of the University of Alabama as a professor emeritus, a title far too august to be connected with my name.

Jim Stovall

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