Chapter 3
 

HOW IS NEWS LANGUAGE DIFFERENT?

 

Examples

Exercises

 

NEWSWRITING ADVICE ONLINE

 

"Paragraph breaks: Why readers can't get enough" is a helpful discussion of the importance of short paragraphs for newswriting (from Cub Reporters.org).

 

"After deadline" archives of The New York Times offers advice about writing and grammar.

 

 

ASSOCIATED PRESS STYLEBOOK

 

Cub Reporters.org also has a short list of AP style guidelines for capitalization, numbers and titles.

 

 

USING LANGUAGE FAIRLY 

 

"To avoid sexism, follow AP Style":  This Columbia Journalism Review article by Jessica Seigel points out that The New York Times could have avoided an embarrassingly sexist obit that led with the scientist's domestic abilities, including her "mean beef stroganoff," rather than with her pioneering accomplishments in science.

 

Why not identify a suspect's race or ethnicity in crime stories?  Here's why (from Lindsey Millar at the Arkansas Times).

 

If it's relevant to a news story to identify race or ethnicity, ask subjects how they identify themselves.  The answers may sometimes surprise you (Margot Mifflin in the Chronicle of Higher Education).

 

The term "politically correct" is "dismissive and code-packed," says Keith Woods, NPR vice president of newsroom training and diversity.  An NPR reporter who used the term writes about the subject here.

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"Make every word count":  This advice from the Freedom Forum's "No train, no gain newsroom training" was so thorough that we tracked it down on the Wayback Machine.

Modifiers are very fine things, but journalists usually keep them to a minimum to create strong, clean writing that focuses on information.  The Writing Center Underground provides a quick review of adjectives and adverbs—and of why it's good to avoid using too many of either (Metro Community College in Omaha, Nebraska).

 

In this article by Maria Popova, mystery writer Stephen King explains further why "the adverb is not your friend."

 

In "Why we should care: Writing well about endangered kids," Barry Siegel discusses why overly emotive language can weaken your writing and do a disservice to the people whose stories you're telling.

"Subject-Verb-Object" is one of the simplest, most straightforward ways to write a sentence in English. For a little more about what this means and how it works, see ThoughtCo.'s helpful discussion.

Purdue University's Online Writing Lab has a good, short discussion. Go to the site and search for "passive voice" to find several entries for passive and active voice.

 

Grammar Girl writes clearly and thoroughlyt about the difference between active and passive voice.