This book has been prepared with the purpose of furnishing students of journalism and young reporters with a large collection of typical news stories. For college classes it may be used as a textbook. For newspaper workers it is offered as a handbook to which they may turn, in a particular case, to find out what news to get, where to get it, and how to present it effectively. Every young writer on a newspaper is called upon to do kinds of reporting in which he lacks experience. If, with the aid of an index, he can turn readily to several instances where more experienced writers have solved problems like his own, he will undertake his new task with a clearer idea of what to do and how to do it.
For systematic instruction in news writing it is desirable that students have in convenient form representative stories for study and analysis. Newspapers, it might be thought, would furnish this material, but experience has shown that it is often difficult to find, in current issues of newspapers, examples of the particular kind of story under consideration, and it is likewise difficult to supply every student in a large class with a copy of the issue that happens to contain the desired example.
The selection of specimens for this book has been determined largely by two considerations: first, that the news which the story contains should be typical, rather than extraordinary or “freakish”; and second, that the story should present the news effectively. It has been assumed that the student must first learn to handle average news well in order to grapple successfully with extraordinary happenings. A considerable part of the book deals with more or less routine news, because it is with this type that a large portion of the reporter’s work is concerned.
Since newspapers are read rapidly, it has been taken for granted that a story is most effective when its structure and style enable the reader to get the news with the least effort and the greatest interest. Many pieces of news can best be treated in a simple, concise style, with the essential facts well massed in a summary lead. Such straightforward presentation does not mean that the style must be bald and unoriginal. The examples illustrative of this purely informative type of news story are generally marked by a simplicity and directness of expression that are characteristic of good journalistic style.