Story Craft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction/Producing Online News: Digital Skills, Stronger Stories

By Lipschultz, Jeremy Harris | Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, Spring 2012 | Go to article overview

Story Craft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction/Producing Online News: Digital Skills, Stronger Stories


Lipschultz, Jeremy Harris, Journalism & Mass Communication Educator


Jack Hart Story Craft The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 201 1. 252 pp.

Ryan M. Thornburg Producing Online News: Digital Skills, Stronger Stories. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2011.405pp.

The art of storytelling, across a variety of media platforms, is transforming journalism and media education. Hart's Story Craft succeeds by focusing on "narrative possibilities" for those with a passion for storytelling because of application breadth:

Story makes sense out of a confusing universe by showing us how one action leads to another. It teaches us how to live by discovering how our fellow human beings overcome the challenges in their lives. And it helps us discover the universals that bind us to everything around us. (p. 5)

Story, to Hart, is universal because a good story has no print and broadcast division. Thus, the opening chapter reveals the essential principles - a sequence of actions, a sympathetic character, a complication, and a resolution. From this foundation, Hart smoothly moves the readers to structure. Visual representations of a narrative arc explained through useful examples.

Story Craft then turns to the importance of a point of view. Rather than wrestling with journalistic objectivity, Hart challenges the reader to consider decisions about stance, distance, and the ladder of abstraction, which he sees as "one of the most useful concepts for any writer" (p. 55).

Young writers often struggle to find their voice and style, but Hart drills down by identifying and explaining institutional voice, the first person voice, persona, and position. While some find fun in developing voice, Hart admits to his readers that it is more like pain reduction: "So I try to relax, sliding into an easy rhythm that moves ahead quickly and smoothly" (p. 74). Hart moves on in the book to address, through brief chapters, character, scene, and dialogue. A former managing editor and writing coach at The Oregonian and faculty member at six universities, he clearly brings a liberal arts perspective to journalism. He reserves for chapter 10 the topic of reporting and notes, "The newsies who'd been trained my way, with pro forma beat reporting and a checklist of official sources, were skeptical of the narrative approach" (p. 146). It demands immersion, access, observation, reconstructive narrative, interviewing, and an eye for a story. Throughout the book, Hart's examples return the reader to the narrative arc to demonstrate exactly how and where stories use narrative structure and technique. While the reader may now be ready for Hart's concluding chapter on ethics, some journalism professors may worry that it again has been relegated to the end of the textbook. Likewise, there is little here to signal to the novice storyteller that his or her work may raise legal concerns.

If great storytelling skills are what is needed to save American newspapers and electronic media from the tsunami of technological change brought by the Internet, Thornburg's Producing Online News takes the point of view that online news is different:

As an online journalist, you'll still work with the traditional elements and values of news. But you'll also take advantage of the three attributes of online communication that make reporting, producing and distributing your stories via the Internet fundamentally different from working in any other medium, (p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Story Craft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction/Producing Online News: Digital Skills, Stronger Stories
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.