Critic of Journalism Investigates the Craft

A local woman is currently studying a journalism textbook, despite a lifelong hatred of the genre.

Heather Andrews, a resident of SE Portland, is reluctantly reading Inside Reporting by Tim Harrower. Aimed at journalism students, the text explains the basics of the field by a veteran of The Oregonian.

“In college I learned a lot about academic writing,” Andrews pointed out. “In the nine years since I graduated, I’ve noticed my writing doesn’t seem effective with non-academic audiences.”

When Marie Naughton, an area writer, noticed differences of readability and audience interest in Andrews’ writing, she staged a small intervention. Naughton loaned Andrews the textbook, which she had contributed on, along with a gentle suggestion that Andrews diversify her writing skills for greater success.

Andrews confesses a longtime hatred of journalism, fueled by cable networks and her own experiences with the press. She decided to read the textbook hoping that her views would be changed.

The book, Naughton explained, uses a user-friendly method of teaching basic ideas of journalism. Each page is designed like a newspaper or magazine, tackling several ideas in each two-page spread. Along the bottom margin, users are pointed elsewhere for in-depth information on a specific topic or for samples of work.

When asked whether or not Andrews plans to also give up her “Midwestern Bible,” the Chicago Manual of Style, for the Associated Press Stylebook, she retorted “now that’s just crazy talk!” with a glimmer in her eye.

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