Aug 102009

Reading CC photo credit Yves.Great writers read. They read fiction, non-fiction, and books about writing. Here are some suggestions to get you started. If you want to carry them all with you, consider a Kindle! And if you’re teaching journalism, we also have a list of textbooks to consider.

Advancing the Story: Journalism in a Multimedia World (3rd edition) by NewsLab’s Deborah Potter and Deb Halpern Wenger of the University of Mississippi, CQ Press. 2014.

A Writer’s Coach: The Complete Guide to Writing Strategies that Work, by Jack Hart, Pantheon, 2007.
Useful and funny–a great read and an essential reference from the Oregonian newspaper’s writing coach.

Aim for the Heart, (2nd edition) by Al Tompkins, Bonus Books, 2011.
Storytelling advice from a veteran journalist, now on the Poynter Institute faculty.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Ann Lamott, Anchor, 1995.
Inspiring guidance: “Good writing is about telling the truth.”

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, by Anne Fadiman, Farrar Strauss and Giroux, 1998
Personal essays on a love affair with words.

Make it Memorable, Writing and Packaging Visual News with Style, by Bob Dotson, Rowman and Littlefield, 2015.
Tips and lessons from former NBC national correspondent.

On the Road with Charles Kuralt, by Charles Kuralt, Putnam, 1985.
A collection of TV pieces by one of the best broadcast writers ever.

On Writing Well, 30th anniversary edition, by William Zinsser, Collins, 2006
Reissued in paperback, this informal guide to writing is studded with practical advice.

The Elements of Style, 4th edition, by Strunk, White and Angell, Longman, 1999
A classic, still useful after all these years. This edition has an index, which is essential. You can also find it online at

The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard. Harper Perennial, 2013
A series of essays by the best-selling writer.

Woe is I, 3rdd edition, by Patricia T. O’Conner, Riverhead Trade, 2010
A fun-to-read guide to English grammar. Honest.

Writing for Story, Jon Franklin, Penguin, 1994
Advice from a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner on writing non-fiction.

Writing to Learn, William Zinsser, Harper Perennial, 1993.
Explains how the act of writing changes the writer.

Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, by Roy Peter Clark. Little Brown and Company, 2008

Click the links if you want to buy from Amazon. (Note: NewsLab makes a small commission on each sale.)

  One Response to “Suggested reading for writers”

  1. I’m hoping you might add this one: “Beyond Powerful Radio -A Communicators Guide To The Internet Age,” which may also be of use?

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