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Welcome to the web site for the sixth edition of Writing for the Mass Media.

Writing for the Mass Media is a text written to introduce students to the various basic forms of writing for the mass media and to the professional requirements of writing in a media environment.

The book was first published in 1985 and has since been used as a text in more than 350 colleges and universities, as well as in many high school and technical school classroom.

This web site is designed to help students and instructors use the book for effectively and to offer additional material.

Much of what is on this site is also included in the instructor's manual, which is available from the Allyn and Bacon web site for those who have adopted the book. (If you are an instructor using the text in your class, you should contact Allyn and Bacon representative for your area or get in touch with the publisher directly.) The instructor's manual also contains other material for the instructor's use.

Please let us know if you have comments or suggestions about this site. You may get in touch the with author, James Glen Stovall, by emailing him or you may contact the editor at Allyn and Bacon with this email.


A note to instructors

The course for which Writing for the Mass Media was written is often described as a mile broad and an inch deep. If you are convinced of the need to allow students to sample the skills involved in distinct forms of the media, to participate in exercises whereby students can understand how each skill relates to all media, and to gain a measure of their competence in other media professions, then an introductory writing course must be part of your curriculum.

Two important concepts should guide your teaching of this course. First you must teach those things that make each form of the media distinct. Second, you must emphasize the commonalities that all media share.

Each medium presents distinct formats and forms that all professionals should appreciate. One goal of this book is to give our students that appreciation. That is tough to do if the students are allowed to feel that understanding each form as distinct means that one form has no relevance to the others.

Good writing in all forms is easily recognizable. Achieving mastery in writing depends upon the willingness of the student to learn. But student attitude alone is never sufficient. Just as the techniques of good writing can be learned through diligence and application, there is a corollary emphasis on the techniques of teaching those skills. Teaching writing takes skill, patience, intelligence, and hard work. Much of the material included in this manual is drawn from two decades of experience teaching writing courses and in conducting writing workshops for professional groups.

If you find any mistakes on this site or have any comments, please let me hear from you. Contact me directly by writing to Department of Mass Communications, Box 947, Emory and Henry College, Emory, Va. 24327. I am always interested in your comments about this manual, the text itself, and the way you tackle the difficult business of teaching writing.

The above address represents a change from the one you might have known -- the University of Alabama. I "retired" from the University in 2003 after 25 years of teaching there and moved to Emory and Henry College, a small Methodist liberal arts college in the Appalachian Mountains, about 25 miles north of the Tennessee state line, where I am a visiting professor of mass communications. I remain connected to the University of Alabama as a professor emeritus, a title far too august to be connected with my name.

Jim Stovall

1: Sit Down and Write | 2: Basic Tools of Writing | 3: Style and the Stylebook |
4: Writing in the Media Environment | 5: Writing for Print | 6: Writing for the Web |
7: Writing for Broadcast | 8: Writing Advertising Copy |
9: Writing for Public Relations | 10: The Writer and the Law |
Instructors | Students | Author | Contact | JPROF.com | Home