The Universal Journalist

The Universal Journalist

by David Randall, Jemma Crew
The Universal Journalist

The Universal Journalist

by David Randall, Jemma Crew

Paperback(New Edition)

    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


This is the only 'how to' book on journalism written by writers and editors who have operated at the top level in national news. It has long been the go-to book of advice for young reporters This edition includes a chapter on social media and is extensively updated throughout, with new content from Jemma Crew, an award-winning national news journalist. The book emphasises that good journalism must involve the acquisition of a range of skills that will empower trainees to operate in an industry where ownership, technology and information are constantly changing. This handbook includes tips and tricks learned from working at the very top of the business, and is an invaluable guide to the 'universals' of good journalistic practice for professional and trainee journalists worldwide.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780745343259
Publisher: Pluto Press
Publication date: 03/20/2021
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 780,992
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

David Randall is a British journalist and author who was chief news writer of the Independent on Sunday and has been news editor of three national newspapers. || Jemma Crew is Social Affairs Correspondent at PA Media (formerly the Press Association). She covered the Grenfell Tower fire for two years, jointly winning PA's Reporter of the Year Award in 2018, and has filmed and written reports from across the world, including Bangladesh and Peru.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements x

Preface xi

1 Journalism in an Age of Social Media 1

Journalism and social media: the reality

Building your brand

Twitter as a news source

Social media and public opinion

How to survive being trolled

Coronavirus, misinformation and social media

Thinking time

Filter bubbles

2 What Makes a Good Reporter? 14



Getting the right start

Panel: How to impress editors

3 The Limitations of Journalism 30

Owners' priorities

The journalistic culture

Readers' values

Panel: Crime reporting

4 What is News? 41

What is news?

News values

News value factors

A sliding scale for stories

Beauty and news values

Fake news

A word about good news

5 Where Do Good Stories Come From? 55

The habits of successful reporters

Getting out and about

News editors

Non-obvious sources

Other productive areas

Stories that good reporters avoid

Panel: Humanitarian crises

6 Research 70

What you should be looking for

Where to get it

Researching online

Printed sources

Research as a foreign correspondent

Panel: Researching a feature

7 Handling Sources, Not Them Handling You 85

Guidelines for dealing with any source

Officiai sources

Handling unauthorised sources

Unattributable sources 'off the record'

8 Questioning 97

How to approach people

The most useful questions in journalism

Questioning uneasy sources

Questioning elusive, evasive and hostile sources

Questioning by email

Press conferences

Big name interviews

Panel: Interviews that challenge the subject's image

9 Reporting Numbers and Statistics 120

Questioning data

The uses and abuses of statistics




Per head


Opinion polls



Real versus apparent rise


Phoney science

10 Investigative Reporting 141

What is investigative reporting?

Productive areas to investigate

Investigative reporting skills

Computer literacy

How to run investigative operations

Going undercover

11 How to Cover Major Incidents 155

Case history: Hurricane Katrina, 2005

How to make sure your coverage of a disaster doesn't turn into one

Death tolls

The death call

Professionalism under pressure

Panel: Disaster reporting from multiple sources

12 Mistakes, Corrections and Hoaxes 168

Mistakes - How should you respond to mistakes?

Great newspaper hoaxes

13 Ethics 182

General guidelines

Grey areas


Paying for information or an interview

Panel: A little ethical dilemma

14 Writing News and Features 198



Fresh language







Is writing for online different to writing for papers and magazines?

The joys of writing

Panel: The writing brain

15 Intros 226

How to write sharp intros

Hard news approach

Other approaches

A word about feature intros

Panel: Intros and the value of detail

16 Construction and Description 243

Construction guidelines

Analysing story structures




Panel: An early lesson in description

17 Handling Quotes 261

When do you use quotes?



Attributing quotes

Inventing quotes

18 Different Ways to Tell a Story 272

Different approaches

Colour pieces



Vox pops

Shooting video

19 Comment, Intentional and Otherwise 279

Comment in news stories

The big I



Leaders or editorial opinion pieces



Panel: Travel writing for grown-ups

Panel: Obituary news reports

20 How to Be a Great Reporter 294

Hard work

The application of intelligence

Intellectual courage


Consuming appetite for books

A good knowledge of journalism's past

Obsessive nature

Reading for Journalists 301

Index 305

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews