The best way to learn any skill is through practice

IN the first volume of ‘The News Manual’ we concentrate on the basic skills of journalism. We start with a chapter describing in simple terms what news is, then take you step-by-step through the process of structuring and writing a news story.

In the middle chapters, we give guidance on writing styles for journalism and the correct ways of presenting what you have written. We also discuss some useful books and other resources for journalists.

Finally, we introduce basic reporting skills such as interviewing and reporting speeches, skills which every good journalist needs.

The first six chapters are the most important for journalists new to the profession. Spend some time on them. Read them thoroughly – several times if necessary – until you are confident that you can recognize a possible news story and then write it in a simple straightforward style.

The best way to learn any skill is through practice, so take every opportunity you can to write news stories. Write and write and write again until your skills are as sharp as a razor.

Chapters 7 to 15 cover the basic techniques of researching and presenting news while Chapters 16 to 24 cover basic reporting skills, which you must practice too. They lay the foundations for most reporting tasks you are likely to encounter as a journalist.

The structure of this volume of ‘The News Manual’ has changed slightly from the book version. To save you having to scroll down too much text on-screen, some chapters in the book have been split into several web pages for this online edition.

If you are new to ‘The News Manual’, you might like to read these ‘linked’ chapters together, e.g. Chapters 10 to 13 on Language & style. To make it easier to read these whole topics from start to finish, links have been provided at the bottom of each page to take you to the next installment in that series.

There are two ways of finding things in The Manuals. You can either go to the main Index by clicking on the link on the right of this page, or you can follow the ‘QuickLink to the News Manual volumes’ (also on the right) to see a list of chapters for each of the three volumes.

The News Manual is a free online resource for journalists, would-be journalists, educators, and people interested in the media.

It has developed from the three-volume book ‘The News Manual’, which was published with the help of UNESCO as a practical guide to people entering the profession and to support mid-career journalists wanting to improve their skills.

The News Manual was first published as a three-volume book with assistance from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and was aimed initially at journalists working in developing countries.

It was designed to be a straightforward, no-nonsense guide and for many years it has been a standard text in newsrooms across the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Copyright David Ingram and the Peter Henshall Estate 2008.

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