Aim for the Heart-Third Edition

The new Third Edition rolled off the presses February 2017.

Order it from Amazon

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 16

NEW TO THIS EDITION

  • New chapters on reporting news for social media and online offer readers essential tools to help them respond to the fast pace and ever-changing shift towards digital and mobile media.
  • A new chapter on how to report stories that involve guns helps readers confidently cover f gun issues by equipping them with comprehensive background knowledge of the different types of guns available in America, how they are bought and sold, and the crimes connected to gun violence.
  • A new focus on interviewing and critical thinking skills guides readers through the “dos” and “don’ts” of the interview process, including how to interview reluctant sources, juveniles, and other vulnerable people.
  • A new chapter includes practical advice from working professionals that gives readers a glimpse into the everyday struggles experienced by today’s journalists and tips for surviving in the field, especially when working alone.

KEY FEATURES

  •  Offers a nice balance of reporting fundamentals and technical how-to instruction in a concise and accessible format
  • Develops the mindset of a journalist while teaching essential multimedia and visual storytelling skills
  • Professional experience drives the book as it is authored by an award-winning journalist with real-world advice for students
  • Valuable career advice is contained in the last chapter on “How to Survive and Thrive in Today’s Newsroom”
  • Includes fresh, topical case studies with historical references that are journalism cornerstones
  • Contributions from the “Who’s Who” of today’s broadcast journalism including top names in television news such as ABC’s Byron Pitts, NBC’s Bob Dotson, CBS’ Steve Hartman, KARE-11 reporter Boyd Huppert, and PBS’ John Larson as well as top photojournalists Les Rose, Mark Anderson, and Lynn French.

 

“For those of us in journalism, our world is quickly changing beneath our feet. Aim for the Heart will give you something solid to stand on, with insights on how to be a better storyteller and how to make the most of the newest technology.”

Byron Pitts
ABC News Nightline Anchor

 “In the midst of a changing industry, Aim for the Heart is more important than ever. It reminds journalists that no matter what the platform, the story is still key. Writing matters. Every manager should have this in their library; it is a great way to inspire newsrooms.”

Carolyn Mungo
News Director WFAA Dallas, Texas

 “Aim for the Heart offers outstanding lessons for students at all levels. Tompkins’ approach is smart and engaging, bringing multimedia stories into focus through effective and ethical practices. His emphasis on improving technique in writing, shot composition and the marriage of the two moves students forward.”

Kathleen Culver
University of Wisconsin-Madison

“Knowing about ‘the next big thing’ is meaningless without thinking carefully about how those ‘big things’ enhance the fundamentals of journalism—the fundamentals that give our audiences stories that are ethically sound, engaging and informative.  Al Tompkins gets that connection, and he stands for journalism that matters. Anyone who has ever attended one of Al Tompkins’ workshops knows that he brings amazing insight, energy and passion into the classroom. What’s even more amazing is how he manages to convey that energy and passion in print. Aim for the Heart inspired ordinary journalists to do extraordinary work.”

Lisa Taylor
Ryerson University

“Aim for the Heart is the book I wish I could have read 20 years sooner. Al Tompkins reveals the secrets of compelling visual stories. As an award winning broadcast journalist, Al taught himself the ‘magic” years ago. His willingness to share and teach is his gift to the rest of us.”

Boyd Huppert
Reporter, KARE-11, Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

The Table of Contents:

CHAPTER 1. AIM FOR THE HEART
Can Great Storytelling Make You Sexier?
All That Is Great, But I’m on a Deadline
Finding Focus: Aim for the Heart of the Story
Use Sound Bites That Connect to The Viewer’s Heart
CHAPTER 2. THE SHAPE OF THE STORY
Stories Need Surprises: Give Viewers Gold Coin Moments
Story Frames: Structure and Restructure
The Big Close: Resolve the Story
Sentences Have Shapes, Too: Power at the End
CHAPTER 3. FIND MEMORABLE CHARACTERS
Put a Face on the Story: You Remember What You Feel
Little Pictures, Big Stories: Focus on People, Not Events
How Many Characters Do You Need in a Story?
CHAPTER 4. WRITE INVITING LEADS
First Impressions: Get Them Hooked
Some Do’s and Don’ts for Leads: Don’t Stall; Get On With It
Kill the Clichés: Especially the Clichés of Thought
CHAPTER 5. VERBS AND ADJECTIVES
The Thing About “ing”: A Passive, Verbless Style
“To Be” or Not “To Be”: Verbs Drive Sentences
Avoid “Fantastic, Unbelievable, Gut-Wrenching” Subjective Adjectives
CHAPTER 6. THE ART OF THE INTERVIEW
Learning to Listen: Using Your Ears More Than Your Mouth
Asking Better Questions
Interviewing Reluctant Sources: Explain the Rationale
Interviewing Juveniles and Other Vulnerable People
A Few Interviewing Don’ts
CHAPTER 7. WHY PICTURES ARE SO POWERFUL
A Little Bit of Visual Theory
The Power of the Picture
The Fannie Lou Hamer Story
CHAPTER 8. THE VITAL ROLE OF LIGHTING
Lighting Sets an Editorial Tone
Construct the Light and Go for the Shadow Side
In Bright Sunlight Add Light
Be Careful
CHAPTER 9. VIDEO AND VISUAL TECHNIQUES
Let’s Get Visual: Capturing Compelling Video
Principles and Techniques for Photographic Objectivity
Special Effects Are “Special”: Use With Care
CHAPTER 10. CAUTION, THIS MAY GET GRAPHIC: THINKING VISUALLY
Think “Shapes”: A Checklist for Effective Graphics
Get It Right: Graphics Are Precision Work
CHAPTER 11. THE SOUND OF THE STORY
Capturing Powerful Sound
Ethical Concerns With Adding Music and Sound Effects
Do Not Rearrange Audio or Sound Bites
CHAPTER 12. WHAT EVERY JOURNALIST SHOULD KNOW ABOUT GUNS, AMMUNITION AND ARMED VIOLENCE
What Is a Caliber/Gauge and Why Does It Matter?
Guns in Crime
Buying and Selling Guns
CHAPTER 13. FIELD TRICKS FROM THE PROS
First Things First in the Field
Story Ideas
Assessing Threats and Staying Safe
CHAPTER 14. TELL THE STORY WITH SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE
Why Online and Social Media Are Important to Local TV
Reporting and Writing for Online
Ethics and Social Networks
Online Skills You Need to Get Hired or to Keep Your Job
CHAPTER 15. ETHICS AND BROADCAST JOURNALISTS: SEEK TRUTH AND REPORT IT AS FULLY AS POSSIBLE
Seek Truth and Report It as Fully as Possible
Who Said That: Evaluating Sources for Your Stories
Be Honest With Viewers About Your Reporting and Your Mistakes
Attack Dogs, Watchdogs and Guide Dogs: A Journalist’s Commitment to Seeking Truth
File Tape: Truthful Reporting or Lazy Journalism?
CHAPTER 16. ETHICS AND BROADCAST JOURNALISTS: ACT INDEPENDENTLY
Avoid Conflicts of Interest
CHAPTER 17. ETHICS AND BROADCAST JOURNALISTS: MINIMIZE HARM
Rights to Privacy for Private People and Public Officials
Covering Criminals and Criminal Acts
Identifying Suspects, Covering “Off-Limits” Stories and Other Tough Ethics Calls
Questions Before You “Go Live”
CHAPTER 18. LET’S GET CRITICAL
Kill the Zombie Stats
Critical Thinking and Polling
Using Critical Thinking to Investigate Charities
Al Gets Duped: Be Skeptical
CHAPTER 19. THE POWER OF ENTERPRISE REPORTING
Enterprise From the Start: Morning Meetings
How to Generate Enterprise Stories
Look for the Story Behind the Story
CHAPTER 20. SURVIVING AND THRIVING IN TODAY’S TV NEWSROOM
How to Succeed
Surviving Layoffs, Cutbacks and Reassignment
Stressed and Overworked
Time Management
Avoid Office Gossip and Politics
Leaders in the Newsroom
The Meaning of Life
INDEX

 

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2 thoughts on “Aim for the Heart-Third Edition

  1. Pingback: Journalists cite weak reasons for naming mass killers | The Buttry Diary

  2. Pingback: Understanding Visual Processes to Unlock Paths to Effective Visual Communications | Richard Binhammer

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