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Journalistic Writing: Building the Skills, Honing the Craft [Paperback]

by Robert M. Knight
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1, 2010 1933338385 978-1933338385 3
Aimed at those pursuing careers in creating public prose, this is the definitive handbook for aspiring journalists. Offering budding writers suggestions on how to improve their skills—even when faced with a tight deadline—this guide also reviews many elements essential to the occupation such as utilizing strong nouns and verbs, paring down adjectives and adverbs, describing with concrete detail, and avoiding clichés and the passive voice. Going beyond a standard presentation of information, this reference encourages students to put its methods into practice, making each and every word count and maintaining the appropriate energy level in their content. With expert analyses of real-world articles, this book also provides advice on avoiding poor sentence structure that can kill reader interest and includes perspectives on diversity sensitivity. Accessible, humorous, and engaging, this revised edition offers a practical approach for those seeking to improve their communication skills.

Frequently Bought Together

Journalistic Writing: Building the Skills, Honing the Craft + Associated Press Guide to News Writing: The Resource for Professional Journalists + The Associated Press Stylebook 2013 (Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law)
Price for all three: $37.13

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Editorial Reviews


"An indispensable guide for all writers—journalists, essayists, novelists, playwrights, and poets alike! A thoroughly engaging, canny, entertaining, and wholly informative compendium of how to write clear English. Author Robert M. Knight brings light, depth, and admirable pacing to his work. Every writer should own a personal copy of this remarkable book—and use it daily."  —Kevin Klose, president and CEO, National Public Radio

About the Author

Robert M. Knight has written for nearly 40 publications and news services, chief among them the Chicago Tribune and its Sunday magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, Reuters and the Washington Post. He is a former senior editor and broadcast editor of the City News Bureau of Chicago, and is a past president of the Chicago Headline Club chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. A veteran journalist, he began his career with United Press International in Denver and Albuquerque and spent several years as a print and broadcast reporter in New Mexico. A graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder, Knight earned his master’s degree at DePaul University in Chicago.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Marion Street Press, LLC; 3 edition (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933338385
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933338385
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert M. Knight, the veteran journalist who wrote "Writing Public Prose: How to Write Clearly, Crisply, and Concisely" (Marion Street Press March, 2012) has taught writing and journalism classes as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University and Gettysburg College. He is also the author of the highly regarded "Journalistic Writing: Building the Skills and Honing the Craft" (Marion Street Press 2010).
Knight began writing and editing at the Denver and Albuquerque bureaus of United Press International and went on to write for print and broadcast outlets in New Mexico and in Chicago. As a freelancer for more than 40 publications, he became a frequent contributor to The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Reuters news service and The Washington Post. Knight went on to become an editor at the late, greatly lamented City News Bureau of Chicago.
He is a regular contributor to and author "The Craft of Clarity" (Iowa State Press; now out of print.) For nine summers, he played the role of Samuel Wilkeson Jr., chief correspondent of The New York Times, who revisited the Gettysburg battlefield and talked about what he witnessed there 14 years earlier.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Writing Made Easy July 14, 2001
Knight can write. He also can teach his readers how to write clearly, effectively and convincingly. The first two chapters are the most interesting. In the first, he explains the difference between good and bad writing. The second chapter shows how to get started, which often is the hardest part. His main advice is to make it interesting and to get to the point early. He shows how with explanations and examples. The third chapter might be the most useful. It shows how to avoid all those traps that make writing dull. Knight specifically takes aim at misplaced modifiers, dangling participles, redundancies, wordiness and weasel words. They make readers feel as if they were walking through mashed potatoes. Read this chapter and you'll never make those mistakes again. His antidote is to write with precision -- to say what you mean. He shows how to right the wrongs of bad writing. My favorite chapter is the one on originality and how to achieve it without falling into traps like cliches and jargon. I would position this book somewhere between a textbook and a self-help book. It's more fun to read than a textbook and more professional than a self-help book. It's really an updated version of Strunk and White's classic "The Elements of Style" and in some ways better because of all its examples and exercises. Don't be put off by the reference to "journalistic" in the Knight book's title. It's about good writing -- by which he means clear, supple and precise writing. If you'd like the sharpen your prose, this book is for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarity is the key to good writing December 8, 2003
As an editor/publisher of books for journalists, I read a lot of books about writing. Bob Knight's excellent book focuses directly on the key issue most writers need to work on - clarity. Knight emphasizes that journalistic writing means writing clearly and concisely, and he shows the reader how to do that. If more writers -- journalists, business writers and even amateurs -- read this book, life would be a lot easier for readers everywhere!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just for Journalists November 9, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is not just for students of journalism; it's for everyone who writes! As a practicing attorney, this book helped me clean up my prose for clearer, more persuasive briefs. Plus, for those of us who love words and the English language, it's a highly entertaining read. It will be in the Christmas stockings this year of both my college student sons.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required Reading July 11, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Journalistic Writing should be required reading for aspiring journalists. Bob Knight touches all the bases--newspapers, magazines, radio TV and the Internet. Not only is Knight's book the ideal basic training manual, it's also an invaluable resource for those who have been working in the field as reporters, writers and editors.

If I were the editor of a newspaper I'd make it mandatory that all of my fellow editors and all of my writers and copyreaders spent one hour every month dwelling on one of the chapters. That would entail having sessions a couple of times a week and maybe some makeup sessions for those on vacation or out of town during a given month. But this "advanced placement refresher course" would certainly be worth the investment in hours.

Neil Milbert
Chicago Tribune Sportswriter 1968 - 2010
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential guide for journalists June 26, 2010
Journalistic Writing: Building the Skills and Honing the Craft" is an essential guide for journalists or for anyone interested in a journalism career. Robert M. Knight's book is a treasure of helpful information garnered during his long and diverse career as a journalistic writer, editor, and teacher.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must-read! June 5, 2010
Correct use of language lets readers "get it." Radio listeners and TV watchers, too. Knight wins the case with compelling arguments and examples in his new book, "Journalistic Writing." It is more than a primer for students. It can teach veteran journalists how to write more readable copy. Knight also discusses what makes something newsworthy and the ethics of it all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A top-notch primer January 15, 2004
Well, I'm not ready to throw away my 1972 printing of Strunk & White's Elements of Style, but I've got the Craft of Clarity right next to it on my desk. So often style and grammar gurus are pedantic and painfully dull. Not Knight. Easy to read; clear and precise. The best primer available that I know of -- after Strunk and White.
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