As glamorous as the media professions can seem, there are a host of ethical, legal, and practical considerations that temper unbridled enthusiasm for working in the newsroom. Barnas and White do a superb job of demystifying and clarifying what it means to actually work behind the scenes and at every position necessary for making an effective news organization work. Broadcast News: Writing, Reporting, and Producing offers a remarkably thorough overview of the broadcast news industry, from an editorial and content creation perspective as well as a marketing, public relations, and technical perspective. Just when Broadcast News seems overly ambitious, the authors deliver on depth and clarity of content.
Broadcast News is divided into four parts, for a total of seventeen chapters. The first part is called Acquiring the News. Barnas and White dive straight into the ethical and legal conundrums reporters and editors face when trying to be the first on the scene to report issues as fairly and accurately as possible. Chapter One covers everything from conflicts of interest and libel to the issues associated with editing and framing the news. Chapter two is about locating the news, and how to leverage access to sources. Developing stories is the substantive content of chapter three, which covers the meat of story development including how to cultivate long-term relationships with sources and confidants. Chapter four addresses the issues associated with researching documents, including freedom of information requests and other government-related issues that come into play during investigative reporting. The tips the authors offer aspiring reporters are indispensible, but ultimately best put into practice via opportunities like an internship with a reputable newsroom or media agency.
The second part of Broadcast News is about writing the news. Unlike the first section of the book, this section includes helpful information about the mechanics and style of journalistic writing and reporting. Even for those interested more purely in vocal delivery need to master the art of writing and communicating stories effectively. Comprising chapters six through eight, this section is one of the shorter ones in the book but nevertheless includes information that is pertinent to students of journalism and media studies.
Reporting the news is the subject of section three of Broadcast News. Barnas and White discuss fieldwork in chapter nine, interviewing in chapter ten, planned events coverage in chapter eleven, live reporting in chapter twelve, and story formatting and voiceover issues in chapter thirteen. Much of what makes it to the viewers eye has been carefully thought out, planned, and packaged. Each issue, event, or story needs to be developed, covered, and communicated in its own way. Barnas and White helps budding journalists understand the nuances of their future career in this section.
Finally, the last four chapters are devoted to producing the news. Chapter fourteen is about television news broadcasting, including some technical and logistical issues. These technical and logistical issues are best understood in context on the job rather than from a book, but still, Barnas and White prepare the reader for an internship or job in this sector. Radio news is the subject of chapter fifteen, helping the reader appreciate the peculiarities, benefits, and drawbacks of radio format. News deliverythe auditory and visual dimensionsis of the utmost importance to consumers. For this reason, Barnas and White cover these seeming superficialities in chapter sixteen. The closing chapter of the book is understandably about career development, professional development, job opportunities, and networking: what the student of journalism and media needs to know about the best way to build a successful career. There are few books on the market like Broadcast News, making this text indispensible for media, communications, and journalism students and professors alike.
Barnas, Frank and White, Ted. Broadcast News: Writing, Reporting, and Producing. Burlington, MA: Focal Press.
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