Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Mervin Block  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Mervin Block on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

The author was a newsreporter and editor in Chicago and a former new producer at WBBM Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Mervin Block is a broadcast writing coach and author. He has written news at three television networks: as a staff writer for the "CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite" and the "ABC Evening News with Frank Reynolds" and as a freelance at NBC News.He has written news for Ed Bradley, Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, Douglas Edwards, Charles Kuralt, Roger Mudd, Edwin Newman, Charles Osgood, Dan Rather, Harry Reasoner, Frank Reynolds, Diane Sawyer, Bob Schieffer, Robert Trout and Mike Wallace.Block teaches newswriting workshops at TV and radio newsrooms around the country.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Rewriting Network News: Wordwatching Tips from 345 TV and Radio Scripts
ISBN: 0929387155

Bonus Books. 1990

Word watching tips from 345 TV and radio scripts.

Writing Broadcast News Shorter, Sharper, Stronger: A Professional Handbook
ISBN: 1608714179

CQ Press College. 2010

Mervin Block- who has written for the best in the business- offers timeless advice, guiding both first-year students and seasoned professionals through the essentials of writing for the ear. With countless scripts collected from writing workshops in newsrooms across the country, this resource is studded with insightful- and at times entertaining- comments, suggestions and much-needed corrections. Readers will find Block′s clear and incisive voice coming through in the expanded "Top Tips of the Trade" and the "Dozen Deadly Sins"―reminding us that mistakes can be our best teachers. New "WordWatcher" boxes highlight the challenges in writing for print versus broadcast.

Writing News for TV and Radio: The New Way to Learn Broadcast Newswriting
ISBN: 1608714217

CQ Press. 2010

"It′s not wise to violate the rules until you know how to observe them." – T.S. Eliot

For beginning writers, Writing News for TV and Radio is an indispensable guide to writing for the ear. By learning and applying the basic rules of broadcast newswriting, Block and Durso make sure that aspiring broadcast journalists write they way they talk and pay particular attention to grammar, language, and sentence structure. Useful appendices include the "Basic Work Rules" of reading a script on air and nearly a dozen wire stories to exercise readers′ rewriting skills.

Broadcast Newswriting: The RTDNA Reference Guide, A Manual for Professionals
ISBN: 1608714160

CQ Press College. 2011

This professional manual has been revised and updated. It features Merv Block′s countless do′s and don′ts, distilling them into a handy set of pointers. Journalists who are stumped by a problem can consult the book′s many chapters for mini-lessons on how to deal with it. Block points to action verbs and points out dozens of words not to use. And tells why not to use them. "Every writer needs an editor" is a truism, but editors are vanishing. So Block tells how a writer can be her own editor. His own, too.

Weighing Anchors: When Network Newscasters Don't Know Write from Wrong
ISBN: 1936863391

Marion Street Press, LLC. 2012

Evening News Stars Often Fail Us. Can You Spot Their Mistakes?
Longtime network newswriter Mervin Block doesn't just watch and hear evening newscasts he listens. Block, who wrote for Walter Cronkite and other anchors at ABC, CBS and NBC, examines today's network anchors, their scripts and their journalism. Instead of writing about anchors' delivery, wardrobe or favorite desserts, he points out distortions, deceptions, discrepancies and abuses of broadcast writing style. Block shows how newscasters:
• fudge facts,
• tinker with time,
• label stories exclusive that aren't,
• utter grammatical grotesqueries,
• present old news as breaking news,
• exaggerate medical news,
• hammer home hype,
• boast about routine coverage.
Block’s sharp wit will leave you amused, fuming and shaking your head over today's network anchors. Reinforced with tips, tests and quizzes, Weighing Anchors gives anyone who watches the evening news the tools and insights to identify write from wrong.

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability (No)