The SAGE Key Concepts series provide students with accessible and authoritative knowledge of the essential topics in a variety of disciplines. Cross-referenced throughout, the format encourages critical evaluation through understanding. Written by experienced and respected academics, the books are indispensable study aids and guides to comprehension. Key Concepts in Journalism offers a systematic and accessible introduction to the terms, processes, and effects of journalism;a combination of practical considerations with theoretical issues; and further reading suggestions. The authors bring an enormous range of experience in newspaper and broadcast journalism, at national and regional level, as well as their teaching expertise. This book will be essential reading for students in journalism, and an invaluable reference tool for their professional careers.


The people, places and organizations that supply journalists with ideas and general information (and often quotes) for potential news stories and features are known as sources, some of which may be routine points of contact, while others may be one-offs. The names and contact details of sources, examples of which might be the emergency services and council departments, are kept in a contacts book, paper or electronic versions (Harcup, 2004: 44–6). Cuttings, archival material, broadcast recordings and a variety of documents and websites found on the Internet can also be useful sources of information. On occasions, journalists pay sources for information, a process known as chequebook journalism though the practice is potentially corrupting (Sanders, 2003: 115–17), raising issues of ethics.

A reporter needs to build up ...

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