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Heat & Light [Book Review]

I have been reading this book for awhile – as it took longer than expected what with family visiting for the holidays and starting school recently – and finally, I have finished it.  Here is my review.  Enjoy!


Title:  Heat & Light: Advice for the Next Generation of Journalists

Author: Mike Wallace and Beth Knobel

Synopsis: “In Heat & Light, a legendary journalist and a journalism professor join forces to offer a one-of-a-kind guide for our next generation of great journalists.  Drawing on the authors’ decades of experience at the top of the field and inspired directly by beginners’ most frequently asked questions, Heat & Light offers invaluable advice on such topics as:

·        balancing drama and information (‘heat’ vs. ‘light’)
·        generating and evaluating story ideas
·        the secrets to crafting good ledes
·        creating strong packages for the internet, tv, and radio
·        the specific requirements of writing for print and broadcast
·        the art of the interview

Along the way, the authors share countless anecdotes from their own storied careers—and discuss larger questions such as the rapidly growing role of digital media and what it means for today’s aspiring journalists.

Includes an extensive “reporter’s toolbox” of checklists, techniques, and resources.”

ISBN: 0307464652

 Heat and Light: Advice for the Next Generation of Journalists


 My Review:

I was skeptical when I first picked up Heat and Light.  It was not a book I was obligated to read for class, nor was it a book I was told to read for a job; it was a book I wanted to read for my future journalist self.  While I wanted to read it to learn about the ins-and-outs of journalism, I was still scared that maybe this book would be too technical, too full of lists, and ultimately boring.  However, after reading the first page, I realized how wrong I was.

This is not one of those bullet-pointed-checklist books telling you how to be a journalist.  It is not a book so full of information, rules, and guidelines that it makes you lose interest by the second chapter.  And it is not a book which leaves your brain hurting and your eyes tired.  No, Heat and Light is a book filled with engaging stories, useful tips, and rewarding advice on how to strive in today’s – and tomorrow’s – journalism industry.

Written by the prominent Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes, and award-winning journalist turned professor, Beth Knobel, these two experienced reporters show – not tell – what it takes to make it as a journalist in both present day, and future, journalism.  Along with inspirational and motivational anecdotes from other noteworthy reporters, producers, editors, and anchors, the pages in this book are not only packed with knowledge and information, but also with entertainment, making it an easy read.

Heat and Light is more of a resource than a book.  Touching every aspect of journalism from print to broadcast to internet reporting,  and ending with a “Reporter’s Toolbox”, it is one of the most useful materials for hopeful – and seasoned – journalists and reporters.  If you are interested in journalism, or just want some advice for the ever expanding profession, Heat and Light is a must read.


Purchase it at here: Heat and Light: Advice for the Next Generation of Journalists


*Note: The review above is written by me.  © Kalie Lyn 2011*


Opinions, Shminions. What Do You Think?

Currently, I am reading Heat & Light: Advice for the Next Generation of Journalists by Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes and Beth Knobel, also a past 60 Minutes journalist whom now teaches journalism.

One of the subjects discussed is keeping objectivity in news reports, meaning the journalist should not appear biased, emotionally involved or provide their own opinion on the subject they are covering.  “Experience, yes.  Opinion, no.” quotes the book.

Under the Categories tab on the right side of my blog, I have an entire category called “News and Opinion”.  Here, I relate news and give my own personal opinion on it, and ask my readers to give their opinion also.  However, should I? Should reporters share their opinion?  Does a reporter’s opinion cause the reader to not have their own opinion and just agree with the reporter?

According to Heat & Light, Lou Dobbs, a former CNN reporter, was “one of the worst offenders” of opinion-based reporting.  Yet, Dobbs, along with other opinion-based news broadcasts and newspapers such as Fox News, MSNBC, The Rolling Stones, and the New Yorker, continue to stay on the air and get published, and have a high number of watchers and readers.  Is it because the reporters give their opinion and help the readers and watchers to create, or at least guide them, to their own opinions?  

Personally, I agree that there should be objectivity when covering “hard news”, or news about politics, world relations, health stories…etc.  However, I think that there is a place for opinion-based news in magazine pages – these pages are called “Op-Ed Pages” – and in “soft news” articles or broadcasts, such as fashion trends, stories which do not directly affect its viewers, news which happened a while ago…etc.  And of course, I think that there should be opinion-based news in blogs as the entire point of a blog is for the blogger to share their opinion.

What about you, what do you think?  Do you think news articles should share the reporter’s opinions or do you think the journalist should keep themselves out of the article and just report it without their opinion?  When reading an opinion-based news article, do you generally lean towards the opinion of the reporter or do you form your own response and opinion?

Let us know in the comment section below!

Happy Monday, All!


My Listy List: 5 Ways to Fight Writer’s Block

Millions of people everywhere suffer from one annoying setback – Writer’s Block.  I had it this morning and it lasted for a good couple of hours.  My mind just went blank and everything that I wrote looked like gibberish and made no sense.  

Everyone has their own solution and method of getting past their brain freezing, word jumbling writers block and here is my list of 5 ways to get around this irritating hurdle.




  • Stop thinking.  Literally. Just stop thinking.  Get up from the computer, notepad or whatever else you were working on and just leave.  Go as far away from your writing as possible and sit on the floor, taking the phrase “down to earth” as literal as possible.  Close your eyes and focus on the blackness.  Think of nothing else and do a sort of meditation.  I know it sounds hard, especially for someone like me whom is always thinking, but if you do this for 5-10 minutes, or until you can’t take it anymore, your mind will be refreshed and ready to think again.  It’s kind of like a detoxing for your brain.


  • Exercise.  Exercise stimulates the body and the brain.  Whether you’re jogging, doing push-ups or sit-ups or just taking a walk, exercise will give your mind a rest or give your brain that extra boost to think of your next words.


  • Play with your kids, siblings or pets.  Being with other people or beings will take your mind off your work and keep you “in the moment”.  You will totally forget about your writing until you are ready to go back or when your brain sparks that great idea.


  • Light some incense/candle, put on a sad song and cry.  I try to do this at least once a month.  It not only cleanses your tear ducts but also your mind.  You’ll feel exhausted afterword but extremely relieved.  Your body will feel like it’s floating and you will be able to sit down with nothing on your mind and start new.


  • Have sex.  Not only do you burn calories when you have sex, but it also relieves headaches and stress.  Your mind will be rejuvenated afterword and plus you’ll walk away feeling good!
*Note: the pictures on this post were taken from Google Images.  The list however, is my own: © Kalie Lyn, 2011*

Thursday Question #1


If you could meet any person, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?


I would start with the dead ones and I would hands down, meet Nellie Bly, one of the first American women journalists and Diane Fossey, the “Jane Goodall” of the Mountain Gorillas.

I would meet Nellie Bly so I could talk with her about writing, her trip around the world and her undercover stay in the insane asylum.  I would meet Diane Fossey so I could know more about her life in Rawanda, her gorilla friends like Digit, Macho, Uncle Bert…etc and learn what really happened with all her problems with the government and all the setbacks she faced.

Living people, I would definitely meet Jane Goodall.  I would praise her for her work and talk with her about her life with the chimpanzees.

These three women inspire me and it would be an honor to have met/meet them.

*Don’t forget to leave a link of your own answers to the daily question in the comments section!*

Quote of the Day: A.J. Lieblang