One of the four tenants of media writing is accuracy (the other three: completeness, precision and efficiency), and we say that accuracy is primary. But media professionals don’t always achieve accuracy. And inaccuracy can arise in places where we least expect it.
________________________________________ Subtitle: Ya don’ wanna get within no ten-foot pole of dat place, lemme tell ya ________________________________________ The tragic tale of our intrepid hero Don Vito Scripto, notorious mobster, who orders a hit on one-time protege turned dirty rat Mugsy Cliché
Professional writers need to learn what it is to write in the media environment. This “environment” is not just a place — although it is often that, such as a television or newspaper newsroom or the writer’s pool of an advertising agency. But it is also a state of mind, an acculturation that the writer […]
Here we explain the differences of some of the most common verbs of attribution.
Stick with the verb “said.” It’s simple and straightforward, and you won’t have to carry any extra baggage by adding to its meaning.
Every publication needs its own stylebook — a set of rules for referring to local items and guidelines for solving problems and questions that the AP Stylebook does not address.
One of the most dangerous traps a writer can fall into — especially a beginning writer — is the use of clichés. Clichés are overused expressions that have lost their freshness and vitality. Chances are, if you hear a new expression more than once among your friends, it has already reached the status of a […]
Just as any competent artisan knows the tools of his or her trade, the professional writer should know the basics of the English language. That includes knowing the terms of grammar (verbal, antecedent, etc.) as well as the rules. How is the writer to avoid a run-on sentence if he or she doesn’t know what […]
Most good writing teachers stress the power and importance of verbs – often to skeptical students. Verbs are the engines of the language and have far more descriptive power than adjectives or adverbs. That’s where the skepticism comes in. Students interested in writing develop a belief that using good adjectives and adverbs will enhance their […]
The passing of Arthur Miller this week is a sad moment for American letters. Miller devoted himself to his craft – writing plays. Although he wrote in other formats, writing drama meant for performance captured his mind and heart even as a teenager. As with all writers, however, he had doubts.
Two major changes have occurred since Bill Keller took over as executive editor. One is that an editor must know (and approve) the identity of the person to whom confidentiality is granted. The second is that readers should be told why the source as requested confidentiality. This is a good policy for openness, but it […]
Lawrence Musgrove, an English prof at St. Xavier in Chicago, has stirred up a debate on InsideHigherEd.com with an article that says the empirical evidence to show that student writing skills have deteriorated doesn’t exist. Students are making about as many writing errors as they always have. But there are many who disagree or have […]
One of the continuing practical problems that arises often in the nation’s newsrooms is how to handle direct quotations.
That quotation comes from Ted Pease’s Today’s Word on Journalism, a daily email that contains a quotation about some aspect of journalism.
The story was on the opening of the new Supreme Court term. The anchor was interviewing a law professor about the various cases the court would be hearing this year. At one point in the interview, the anchor — in response to something the prof had said — cut in with “Well, that’s the key […]
He didn’t offer any explanation for what he meant, and his detractors have pounced, claiming that he is trivializing a war that he began and that has cost the lives of more than 2,500 soldiers.
Students sometimes get mixed up about what constitutes plagiarism, but journalists should never let that happen. They should understand that plagiarism is one of the worst things they can do, and they should know how to avoid it.
Many journalists say (sometimes jokingly, sometimes not) that they got into the profession because they would not have to deal with a lot of math. For most working reporters, however, that turns out not to be the case.
One of the criticisms of journalism is that reporters report events as events only, rather than giving them any context.
For generations, the journalism culture demanded that young reporters cut their teeth on obituary stories – “writing obits,” we would say. The thinking was that obituaries were easy to write and possibly not very interesting or important.
Verse and Vision
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Since 2004 JPROF.com has been providing journalism instructors and students with material and ideas for teaching and learning journalism. Jim Stovall is the site's creator and operator.
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