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The Mind of a Journalist

The Mind of a Journalist
How Reporters View Themselves, Their World, and Their Craft

October 2009 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
What propels an individual into becoming a professional observer and chronicler of society, joining a group that is often targeted for criticism by the general public?

Can a journalist really have an objective view of the world and the way it operates or do journalists each operate from a specific worldview, parts of which are held in common by all journalists?

Do journalists feel they can become involved in normal social and civic activities, or is the world a detached storehouse of ideas for stories?

Is the journalist most effective on the sidelines of society, or in getting involved in the action, or taking to the field as a referee or field judge?

If journalists are so devoted to the ideals of objectivity, detachment, truth, and providing an accurate view of the world, why do so many of them leave journalism and move into public relations, media consulting, and advertising?

These are just some of the issues explored in The Mind of a Journalist: How Reporters See Themselves, Their Stories, and the World. For students and would-be journalists, this book analyzes the rational processes journalists use in defining themselves, their world, and their relation to that world.

Written by veteran journalist and noted professor Jim Willis, with many observations from working and recently retired journalists from both print and broadcast, the goal of the book is to put this discussion of journalist thinking into the classroom (alongside discussion of reporting and writing techniques). Ultimately, the book provides added insights to how journalists think and why they do what they do.

Features & Benefits:

Included throughout the book are many observations/interviews from working journalists at such media outlets as: The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, CNN, The Memphis Commercial-Appeal, WRTV Television in Indianapolis, and The Daily Oklahoman. A running single-story example (President's Bush's decision to invade Iraq in 2003) shows how the same story was treated by several different journalist mindsets, and thereby examining how these different mindsets defined the issues of truth, ethics, and legality for this story.

Foreword: The Thinking Journalist
Chapter 1: The Lure of Journalism
The Love of Reading and Writing

An Intense Curiosity

A Desire to Contribute

The Independence Factor

Being on the Inside

The Challenges of Going Deeper

Chapter 2: The Priesthood of Journalists
Journalism as the Fourth Estate

Learning the Ropes

The Separated Journalist

Journalists as Advocates

Feeling the Pulse

Granting Confidentiality

Legal Ramifications of Confidentiality

Editors Discourage Confidentiality

Anonymous Sources in Washington

Chapter 3: The Journalist's View of the World
The Journalist and Worldviews

The Importance of Time

News as a Reflection of the World

The Concept of Ethnocentrism

Cultural Immersion

The Risk of Involvement

The Concept of Ambiguity

Diversity Among Journalists

The Socialization of Journalists

Beliefs, Attitudes, and Values

Chapter 4: Journalists, Theory, and Ethics
The Pragmatics of Journalism

Media Effects

A Primer in Media Theory

The Question of Objectivity

Ethics and Journalists

Fabricating News

Credibility as "Currency of the Realm"

Encouraging Ethics in Politics

Diversity in the Newsroom

Separating Business From Journalism

Chapter 5: The Journalist as an Ideologue
Revisiting Objectivity

The Subjective Prisms of Cultures

Enduring Values

Journalists and Politics

What the Data Reveal

Serving as the Victims' Voice

Reports, Inferences, and Judgments

Where Passion Enters In

Op-Ed News

Chapter 6: The Journalist and Faith
A Reluctant Story

Top Religion Stories for 2007

Resources for Religion Writers

An Interesting Study

A Journalist's Own Religion

Faith-Based Journalistic Organizations

Faith-Based Media

Stepping Into Another's Faith

An Ongoing Tension

A Final Thought

Chapter 7: The Journalist as Celebrity
An Obsession with Celebrity

USC Targets the Issue

Celebrity Journalists

Critics From Within

A Double Standard, an Expected Deference

Katie Couric's New Persona

Cooper's Emotional Journalism

A Possible Distortion

The Latest in a Trend?

Chapter 8: Questions Vexing Journalists
A Young Journalist Weighs In

One Frustrated Anchor

Rays of Hope

Some Stay, Some Move On

Epilogue: Reporting From Iraq: Journalists Talk About Covering War
Afterword: A Personal Odyssey
Appendix 1: Covering Katrina: On Taking It Personally
Appendix 2: Thirteen Unique Journalists
Selected Bibliography
About the Author

This book will be essential for the level 3 course, it has so much in depth information explaining how students need to behave

Miss Rachael Rodgers
Digital media , Doncaster College
January 10, 2014

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