Independent Learning (check out these Web sites) Writing and Finding Ideas Improving writing

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Independent Learning (check out these Web sites)

Writing and Finding Ideas

Improving writing – Read the professional press. (The Huntsville Times, The Daily Sentinel, The Clarion, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Miami Herald – has a five minute headline edition that can be sent to your email each day)
Read good writing.

300 Words, an Occasional Series by Brady Dennis. Brady writes features in you guessed it, 300 words. A great resource for writing. There’s a link to past articles in the series as well.
Remembering the man who immortalized the Battle of Iwo Jima in what has become one of the most iconic images in American history. By Al Tompkins
Al Tompkins, does story ideas four days a week on the Poynter Web site. This is one about college costs. It would be awesome for a newspaper double truck. He even includes where to look for background research.
Another one about keeping schools safe
And this one is all about caffeine

Good feature writing. New article by Tom French about the Tampa zoo.

Feature Writing: A guide to feature writing. It looks a little dry on first examination; however, there’s some good stuff here.

Writing Aids for Journalists

Fifty Writing Tools: Quick List: Every writer should look at this from time to time. I find a new inspiration each time I do.

The Elements and Structure of Narrative: Steve Buttry developed this handout for a workshop for the South Asian Journalists Association, New York, July 13, 2006. Buttry is API's Director of Tailored Programs, and can be contacted at:

Writing exercises for journalists:

Attribution: You Can Quote Me On That - A discussion of attribution issues. This handout was developed as part of an API Tailored Programs seminar funded by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. Our Readers Are Watching, Spokane, Wash., July 26-27, 2006 To learn more, contact API's Director of Tailored Programs, Steve Buttry,

Collection of 50 quotes on writing compiled by the Poynter’s Chip Scanlan

Active and passive voice explained.

More about the active and passive voice.

Which vs. that

Free Classes

Free classes: OK, so this may be the coolest Web site ever. The Poynter Institute has FREE, wonderful classes online and other classroom tools including interactive video. It's slick and awesome, and did I mention it's FREE?

Editing and Headline Writing

Copy Desk Resources including editing and headline writing.

Be a Reporter game and News University

So go to and register. Browse the selections. Do "Be a Reporter." The editor even yells at you if you don't get it right.

Poynter and ASNE

Photojournalism, cartooning, and writing: (also has front pages) (web site for American Society of Newspaper Editors) (can view stories from other high school papers from across the country)

Desktop Publishing

Desktop publishing: (look for tutorials) Can download a few PDF’s from classroom in a book. links to journalism organizations and tutorials for Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator

Alabama Press Association - organization for professional press, purchases the trophy for our awards at SIPA

Design, Typography and Fonts

Design: Before and After Magazine has free downloads of PDF presentations on design. For just $24 you get access to all of their presentations. They're way cool. Some downloads are free,

*And check out these web sites: the college press (has links to front pages and dailies), (front pages and other fun stuff)

Typography: awesome Web site on typography. It's interactive and so cool.

Unusual type treatment how-to

Free fonts:

Photography: a staff manual created by Bradley Wilson

History of photography...


Photoshop Quick Tips:

Setting up a work flow in Photoshop

Merging two images in Photoshop.

Cool Photoshop techniques

Tips on a cut-out.

More than you would ever need to know about color balancing a photograph

Reducing red-eye:


Help for Infographs: Great tip in making an LCD panel look for an infographic, 2-part series

Spicing up a graph:
Suggested reading and viewing


Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the News by Bernard Goldberg (adult language)

Somebody Told Me: The Newspaper Stories of Rick Bragg, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Rick Bragg and Ronda Rich are two of my favorite southern journalists who also write novels.

Rhonda Rich writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column “Dixie Divas” for the Athens-Banner Herald. Her novels include What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should) and What Southern Women Know About Flirting.

Off Ramp: Adventures and Heartache in the American Elsewhere by Hank Stuever (finalist for Pulitzer Prize twice, humorous accounts of everyday people and places)

All the President’s Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (about Watergate scandal by journalists who uncovered the story)

Dick Schaap as Told to Dick Schaap: 50 Years of Headlines, Deadlines & Punchlines by Dick Schaap

The Best American Sports Writing 2000 (Best American Sports Writing) by Dick Schaap

Read and study current newspapers and magazines for design and story ideas. The following newspapers and magazines are supposed to have good design ideas: USA Today (especially info graphs), MTV, Seventeen, TV Guide, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and sometimes Newsweek and Time. Look for ideas in other newspapers and magazines as well. The Christian Science Monitor does a good job with the block style of writing. You can sign up with most online newspapers for no charge.


Absence of Malice

All The President's Men

Front Page - old, but good

Newsies - cute, young lads singing about carrying the banner. Newsies is a Disney musical about the era of the Penny Press when newsboys sold papers on the streets. It is during the time of Pulitzer and Hearst and features a power struggle between the newsies and the powerful Pulitzer. It teaches about the history of that time.

Shattered Glass: Read between the lies: PG-13

Teacher's Pet - Black and White with Doris Day and Clark Gable. The main argument is over whether journalists are better off with an education first or jumping right into on the job training.

The Paper - rated R

Up Close and Personal

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