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7 reasons why you should encourage your students to tweet your lectures

Some professors ban laptops, tablets and smart phones from their classrooms, seeing them as distractions for their students. Instead, they should welcome them as tools for engagement.

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Newswriting in the near future

The speed of the Internet and the World Wide Web in disseminating information has forced editors and journalists to rethink the way they present news and the structure of writing.

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Teaching AP style: some high school teachers weigh in

Some high school teachers tell how they teach AP style to their students. And here’s what adherence to style brings to your writing:

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Texting and grammar:

r u goin 2 c her 2-nit Strict grammarians (I don’t count myself in those ranks) believe that text messaging will kill off good grammar, spelling and punctuation. (Unless it literally kills us first, since many text messages are sent and received from behind the wheel of vehicles at 45-plus mph.) But before we don […]

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Avoid the exclamation mark! (audio)

Deeply into the process of revising the eighth edition of Writing for the Mass Media into the ninth edition, I have just composed the following paragraph on exclamation marks. Listen to the audio below and read more by clicking on the headline above.

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Writing for the Mass Media – 9th edition

Writing for the Mass Media will be a new edition — its 9th — next year. The new edition will maintain the same chapter outline (with some minor adjustments) as the 8th edition, but the material in the book will be expanded and updated. This new edition will be more closely tied to the book’s […]

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NYT article demonstrated the power of radio – and a radio station

KMOX-AM in St. Louis has been broadcasting the St. Louis Cardinals baseball games (with a short interruption a few years ago) since 1926. The station is a powerful one — 50,000 watts — and spreads itself throughout the country when night falls and AM stations have their maximum reach. That fact has, over the years, […]

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Inverted pyramid checklist

When you write an inverted pyramid news story, use the following checklist to make sure that you have done it correctly. Information should be presented in descending order of importance. Leads one sentence 30-35 words maximum lead tells the most important information in the story and gives specific facts Second paragraph expand or develop some […]

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Reading on the web – and writing for it

Jakob Nielsen and his group analyzed 1.5 million eye-tracking fixations, and they found that users focus in on sentences and paragraphs where they can get the information they want.

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MC 102: Thoughts on accuracy

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.

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Mugsy Cliché: a parable

________________________________________ 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

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MC 102 Lecture 3: Writing in the Media Environment

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 […]

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Verbs of attribution

Here we explain the differences of some of the most common verbs of attribution.

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The verb ‘said’

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.

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Compiling a local stylebook

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.

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Clichés

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 […]

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Grammar terms

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 […]

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Writing with verbs

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 […]

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The passing of Arthur Miller

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.

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Confidential sources, New York Times style

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 […]

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