Over the summer, more materials will be added to the pages of our blog dedicated to books on journalism, films on journalism, and other resources. The most recent addition is Help! for Writers: 210 Solutions to the Problems Every Writer Faces by Roy Peter Clark. Clark is the vice president of the Poynter Institute, which offers a wealth of resources for journalism education, including online courses and sessions. Our students have participated in their free online course entitled "The Language of the Image."
Below is a passage from the first chapter, "Getting Started," which will appear on one of the first handouts for the journalism class in the fall:
The first challenge is to find something to write about. In my experience, there are two basic types of writers: the ones who write only in response to assignments and those who find ways to work on their own story ideas. Writers need both modes to fulfill the demands of the craft, but the best writers follow their noses along the path to good stories. They generate many more ideas than can be put into practice. That's a nice problem to have. No writer should descend into a welfare system provided by editors or teachers or bosses. The writer wants and needs the ability to work independently. That means coming up with your own ideas and arguing diplomatically that your ideas have the best juice (13).