Category Archives: Advice and Guidance

The difference between fiction and journalism

DapperfuentesMexican writer Carlos Fuentes, whose next book is a journalistic report on drug trafficking and political corruption, has said he sees the press as the backbone of history, and fiction as the necessary contrast which gives meaning to the work of the press:

“For fiction to be fiction, the press must be true. When novels turn truth into fiction, it is true to itself, but when the press turns truth into fiction, it is unbelievable and reprehensible. Fiction’s truth is imagination. Journalism’s imagination is truth.”

Photograph: courtesy Warner Lecture series

‘How can you say it better in your own style?’

James Thurber, the legendary New Yorker writer-cartoonist, in a 1959 memo on editing:

“Editing should be, especially in the case of old writers, a counseling rather than a collaborating task. The tendency of the writer-editor to collaborate is natural, but he should say to himself, “How can I help this writer to say it better in his own style?” and avoid “How can I show him how I would write it, if it were my piece?”

Link via Jason Kottke

German fellowship open to Indian journalists

The International Journalists’ Programmes (IJP) is inviting applications from newspaper, TV and radio journalists in Asia and the Pacific,  for an eight-week exchange fellowship programme that will take them to Germany in May and June 2010.

Journalists between 28 and 38 years of age, working in India, China, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam are eligible to apply.

The deadline to apply is November 30.

If selected, delegates will work in German media, research stories and work as correspondents for their home newsrooms. German journalists will simultaneously work in Asian media.

All delegates of the programme will receive a bursary of EU3,600 (approximately Rs 250,000).

For more information, visit the IJP website

Visit the IJP blog

E-mail Martina Johns for further details:

Link via Nishant Ratnakar

‘Univerisity offers trainings from Indian origin’

Private education—professional colleges, B-schools, deemed Universities, journalism schools, etc—is one of the most under-reported scams in the Indian media today.

This advertisement for one such J-school, which spells “University” wrongly, is a proof reader’s delight. Click on the image for a larger frame.

Fellowship for radio and television broadcasters

One World Media, a UK-based organisation which aims to increase global understanding through effective use of the media, is offering a two-week fellowship for senior radio and television broadcasters from developing countries.

The 2009 fellowship scheme runs from 19 to 30 October. The last date to apply is 21 August.

Download the application form here

Visit the official website: How to apply

Link courtesy Follow the Media

How every journalist can write that dream book

Any journalist who says she doesn’t want to write a book is a liar—or no journalist. While most journos think they have a book in them, few actually manage to put it between the covers.

Canadian journalist Rod McQueen, who has written 12 non-fiction books in the last 25 years, has a surefire recipe for the procrastinators.

“Write 500 words a day and by the end of a year you’ll have enough for a book. It’s that simple. And that difficult.”

McQueen has more advice: choose your topic carefully; start writing immediately; check out secondary sources, do database searches, prowl libraries; and make contact with at least one person who can help.

Read the full prescription: Beat reporter to author

Three tips for journos on how to use Facebook

How should journalists use Facebook? Joe Grimm, visiting journalist at Michigan State University school of journalism, has three tips:

1. Be cautious about what kind of personal information you put out.

2. Add friends to your network, not strangers.

3. Don’t “friend” sources on your beat.

Read the full article here: How should journalists use Facebook?

Visit Joe Grimm‘s website: News Recruiter

‘I never learned a thing when I was talking’

“There’s something I learned long ago: I never learned a thing when I was talking,” says Larry King, host of CNN’s Larry King Live, answering readers’ queries in Time.

Q: Whom do you most want to interview that you haven’t yet?

A: Fidel Castro certainly. Always wanted to interview a Pope. Any Pope. And J.D. Salinger, who is probably the most impossible interview to get. The Catcher in the Rye had a major impact on me. I’d ask him, “Where’d you go? Why’d you stop writing? Did you run dry after four books?” That just boggles me. That’s something I could never do. Disappear from the scene.

Photograph: courtesy New York Times

Read the other nine questions and answers: Larry King

Will journalism soon be Twitterature in a hurry?

Monica Hesse of The Washington Post has gleaned some advice from authors of forthcoming books on Twitter how to get the best out of 140 characters allowed in each Tweet:

# Make It Participatory: Use discussion and self-reflecting, philosophical questions, rather than simple questions like “What are you doing?”

# Make it Art: Each Tweet should contain personality, creating a Twitter persona that people want to follow.

# Make It Universal: Avoid using Tweets with specific contexts, because they will be vague to users who do not have personal knowledge about you.

Link via Knight Center at the University of Texas at Austin

Every journalist’s essential guide to Twitter

Twitter, twitter everywhere.

Journalists are signing up to the micro-blog site. News organisations are launching Twitter feeds. Events are being covered live on Twitter.

But what precisely can journalists achieve with Twitter?

What are other journalists reading, writing and following on Twitter? Who are the journalists who are using Twitter around the world? How can you hook up with them? Need some help with a story? How can you keep track of the torrent of Tweets? Can you receive an alert if something of your liking is Twittered?

And WTF is hastag?

Read The journalist’s guide to Twitter