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Author: I didn’t want to resort to self-publishing, but it’s an exhilarating change

Louise Walters: My debut novel did very well with conventional publishers, but they weren’t interested in the ‘difficult second’ – so I’m going it alone Source: I didn’t want to resort to self-publishing, but it’s an exhilarating change Louise Walters describes what it’s like to have a second novel turned down after success with a […]

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FDR, the editor: A date which will live in infamy

The nation had just endured a bitter debate about whether or not it should go to war. The Japanese ended the debate on Dec. 7, 1941, but the attack on Pearl Harbor had not cleared away the bitterness. Franklin Roosevelt had to weigh his words carefully.

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Headline writing for the web

Some of the most important words a journalist will write for the web are the headline. A headline has always been very important for print media. It is vitally important for the web. Because headlines appear in lists as links rather than with the body of the story, they are the reader’s first introduction to […]

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Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation and Diction study guide

When I taught at the University of Alabama, I would give a 100-question grammar, spelling, punctuation and diction exam to beginning writing students. The test was a difficult one, but students had to make at least a 75 on the exam to pass the beginning writing course offered by the College of Communication and Information […]

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Discussion: the key to good editing

While no one should be cocky or uncivil, a good copyeditor must have the confidence not only to spot errors but also to change the copy to make it better.

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Dates for the journalist

Even if history teachers have stopped making students memorize dates, journalism teachers shouldn’t. Dates are important for a full understanding of events, and students should have precise knowledge of the important events in American and world history. The list of dates on this web site, adapted from The Complete Editor, is a good place for […]

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Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses by Mark Twain

The Pathfinder and The Deerslayer stand at the head of Cooper’s novels as artistic creations. There are others of his works which contain parts as perfect as are to be found in these, and scenes even more thrilling. Not one can be compared with either of them as a finished whole.

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Mark Twain takes aim

In a famous 1895 essay, Mark Twain delivered a stinging critique of one of America’s 19th century literary icons, James Fennimore Cooper. Twain was very much a modern writer, advocating active, descriptive verbs and short rather than long words. His essay is worth reading, not necessarily for what it says about Cooper, but for what […]

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Editor dilemmas

George Daniels, my friend and colleague at the University of Alabama, has developed an excellent exercise on some of the management dilemmas that editors face in dealing with reporters. The exercise is based on some of the guidelines that editors should use in building their relationships with reporters that are outlined in Chapter 12 of […]

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Discussion notes: accuracy

The first lesson that beginning journalism students should learn is they are obligated to present accurate information to their audience. Many of the procedures of journalism are directed toward achieving accuracy. Editing students need to be reminded of this goal, too. It is the editor’s job to ensure accuracy. This web site contains a set […]

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