The Long and the Short of it

The Long and the Short of it

January 29, 2019 Style Guide 0

Think of writing! Do you think of authors, poets, journalists? In fact, the key to it is you- the reader. This short article will break down the essential components of journalistic writing- aiming to help make every article a great one.

What about the structure? You need a clear beginning, middle and end. Start with an engaging point, which should entice the reader in. You could start with a quote, use a startling statistic or begin with a compelling anecdote; try to engage the reader as soon as you can. Then build on your article by developing the story, before ending with a pithy sentence. Shorten your sentences, as this will make your points more digestible for the reader, and prevent ‘waffling’.

Arguably, the most important aspect of writing is the language, which needs to be specific and precise. Choose exciting adverbs and present dynamic stories. Watch out for excessive use of quantifiers such as ‘huge’, ‘very’ etc. Avoid this by choosing relevant words that reflect the scale of what you are trying to convey. Stay away from clichés, as these may devalue the message of your work.

Time for some general advice. Read articles by reputable publishers such as The Economist to develop your own journalistic style. This is important since you want to be your own writer – not a copy of someone else. Research efficiently and ensure the material is relevant. Lastly, follow the mantra of ‘read, revise, repeat’- write multiple drafts to make certain the article flows effortlessly. Write as if you are the reader!

Sarah Goddard

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