Elements of News Writing

Allyn & Bacon
James W. Kershner  
Total pages
February 2011
Related Titles

Product detail

Title no longer available


Kershner's The Elements of News Writing 3/e is a concise handbook that presents the essential rules of journalism, while offering in-depth analysis of the evolving industry. With comprehensive coverage from history to how-to, and discussions of new media, online journalism, blogging, and social networking, this text covers news writing from a 360 degree view.


The Elements of News Writing covers the basics of news writing without the extra verbiage that bogs down many textbooks. The author pays extra attention to grammar and usage, with easy-to-follow basic tips on writing forall types of  mass media, new and old.



  • Provides a complete introduction to the basics of news writing in an affordable, brief, handbook format.
  • Includes a section on grammar and usage so students have a quick refresher on the rules they need most.
  • Discusses different means of information-sharing and processing through various outlets, including the “smart phone,” so students can learn how these sharing and processing outlets can benefit them.
  •  Gives easy-to-follow guidance on writing a news story in “How to Write a News Story in 15 Steps” (Ch. 12).
  • Features a concise, straightforward writing style that encourages students to engage in the material and short cohesive chapters that are easily absorbed and allow for a flexible syllabus.

New to this Edition

  • A revised and expanded chapter about “The Future of the Mass Media” (Ch. 35) includes information about social media, “smart phones,” media convergence, blogs, web journalism and podcasts. Students will learn how new technology is affecting the newsroom and they'll pick up tips on how to utilize this technology.
  • A revised and expanded chapter about punctuation (Ch. 9) addresses the errors and misunderstandings that trip up most of today's journalism students.
  • Updated chapter coverage includes references to the new variety of media emerging today and the digitalization of older media.
  • A new discussion on the rise of Facebook analyzes the ways in which social networking has completely changed how information is communicated, teaching aspiring journalists how to effectively utilize social networking in their fields.
  • An analysis of the decisions of several major newspapers to cease publication allows students to fully comprehend the functionality of the newspaper industry and how the internet played a role in the demise of these publications.

Table of Contents

PART ONE: The Basics

1.         What is News?

2.         History of Journalism in the United States

3.         The Role of the News Media in American Society

4.         Kershner's Five Rules of Journalism

5.         Basics of Good Journalism

6.         A Stylebook Primer

7.         How to Read a Newspaper


PART TWO: Grammar and Usage

8.         Commonly Misused Words

9.         Punctuation

10.       Punctuating Quotations

11.       Active and Passive Voice

12.       Spell Checkers


PART THREE: Writing News Stories

13.       How to Write a News Story in 15 Steps

14.       How to Write a Strong Lead

15.       How to Structure a News Story

16.       How to Conduct an Interview


PART FOUR: Covering Beats

17.       How to Cover Meetings and Speeches

18.       How to Cover the Police and Courts

19.       How to Cover Disasters and Tragedies

20.       How to Write Obituaries


PART FIVE: Specialized Writing

21.       How to Write Reviews and Criticism

22.       How to Write Editorials and Columns

23.       How to Write Feature Stories

24.       How to Write Profiles

25.       How to Market Feature Stories


PART SIX: Editing Newspapers

26.       How Newspapers Are Organized

27.       How to Plan a Newspaper

28.       How to Lay Out a Page

29.       How to Write Headlines

30.       How to Write Cutlines

31.       How to Use Photos and Graphics

32.       How to Edit Stories


PART SEVEN: Advanced Topics

33.       Legal Considerations in Journalism

34.       Ethical Considerations in Journalism

35.       The Future of the Mass Media

36.       Tips From the Best


Instructor Resources