I have begun reading book #1 of the 5 books I need to read before attending class. I started with the book that looked like the most interesting read, and I am just ripping through it. I will go as far as to say that if someone had put this book in my hands at the beginning of my journalism schooling, that ship might have sailed a lot smoother! (Granted, the book was only printed in 2007 and school started in 2005, but nonetheless... I needed this book!) It is called "Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writer's Guide". It brings together the voices of many award-winning journalists (notably all American) who each, in their own way, illustrate how to tell a great story.
I would say that I really do believe that reporters can get lost in all the facts, and arguments and pressure to see both sides and they forget why they started in this little-pay-hard-work profession. WE ARE STORYTELLERS... but somewhere along the way the narrative gets lost, and so in turn the reader becomes disinterested. This is why so many kids get into journalism, and then forget why they even dreamed of being a journalist, and then they filter off into English, political science and history, in an effort to regain their passion for the written word.... but I am getting away from the book.
I really can't say enough about the value of the lessons in here. Each person's take is no longer than four pages and each have specific examples of how they have practiced what the preach. It isn't like I have never been told all of these things in school, it is just nice to hear them from real people, out in the real world of reporting, telling REAL stories in interesting ways.
I will stop yammering about this book, but I will say... buy it: buy it for you, your favourite reporter, hell! even for that reporter you hate (maybe it will help them too?), buy it for you mother and father and sister... even if they don't care about writing at all... even if they are illiterate.
To end, this is my favourite part of the book so far... it is from writer Jacqui Banaszynski in here piece "Stories Matter":
Stories are our prayers. Write and edit them with due reverance, even when the stories themselves are irreverent.
Stories are parables. Write and edit and tell yours with meaning, so each tale stands in for a larger message, each story a guidepost on our collective journey.
Stories are history. Write and edit and tell yours with accuracy and understanding and context and with unwavering devotion to the truth.
Stories are music. Write and edit and tell yours with pace and rhythm and flow. Throw in the dips and twirls that make them exciting, but stay true to the core beat. Readers hear stories with their inner ear.
Stories are our soul. Write and edit and tell yours with your whole selves. Tell them as if they are all that matters. It matter that you do it as if that's all there is.