Insane Newsman

“If anyone ever doubts the importance of pausing between two unrelated sentences, this is the video to show them.”





Ethical Values in News Gathering and Non-Fiction Storytelling

  • Accuracy
  • Balance
  • Completeness
  • Detachment
  • Ethics
  • Fairness

Explain what each of these values are and why each is important.

Note that “lack of bias” is not one of the core ethical principles. Why not?

What are the challenges, pressures and limitations on achieving these values in the daily, weekly, monthly production of stories for public consumption?

Reflect on the following aphorisms, or words of wisdom:

“A reporter or storyteller is only as good as his or her sources.”

“Journalism is the first draft of history.” Give one example of how journalists got an historical event WRONG and one example of how journalists got an historical event right.

“If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”

Continue reading “Ethical Values in News Gathering and Non-Fiction Storytelling”

Guide to Fake News Sites

Don’t be fooled by fake or fictitious news sites online.

How to tell fake news from real news.

Fake news has always been with us. It has led to violence and war.


12 Basics of Interviewing, Listening, Note-taking

Roy Peter Clark’s advice to students and young journalists on interviewing, listening, and note-taking.


Google Portal to Aid Journalists

Google Launches Portal to Aid Journalists via


Crisis Communication & Scandal PR

How Washington became the nation’s busiest training ground for scandal PR


Becoming a Person of Substance

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” — Eleanor Roosevelt


Basic Writing Standards

Here are some of the basic standards I’m looking for when I grade your writing. This is A or B writing. Grades lower than B do not meet these standards.

  1. Snappy title or headline sparks curiosity of reader.
  2. Capitalize first letters of words in the title or headlines, except for small words (a, and the).
  3. Lead paragraph is interesting, and sparks curiosity. Passes the “so what?” test. Why should the reader care about what you’ve written? If you start by simply communicating that you’re fulfilling an assignment, no one cares about that.
  4. The first paragraph is concise. Not wordy. Eliminate unnecessary words.
  5. You have re-read the story aloud before submitting it. It does not read in an unwieldy fashion.
  6. You can read the lead paragraph with one breath. It is not too complicated. It is easy to understand.
  7. Words are spelled correctly and used correctly. You have spell-checked your document and edited it carefully before submitting it. You understand correct word usage.
  8. Subject-verb agreement.
  9. Consistent use of verb tense.
  10. No run-on sentences.
  11. Active voice and not passive voice.
  12. The story conforms to AP Style.
  13. The writing is clear and understandable.
  14. The story “contains accurate quotes,” he said.
  15. Spacing is correct. Not “    like this  . “
  16. Punctuation is correct
  17. Capitalization is correct.
  18. Titles are correct.
  19. Attribution is correct.
  20. Content keeps the reader’s interest.

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

So said Thomas MannEssays of Three Decades.


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