Qualities of Good Writing (Journalism)
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Qualities of Good Writing (Journalism)



This lecture focuses on some basic writing tips and techniques in reporting. It includes some AP style rules.

This lecture focuses on some basic writing tips and techniques in reporting. It includes some AP style rules.



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    Qualities of Good Writing (Journalism) Qualities of Good Writing (Journalism) Presentation Transcript

    • Qualities of Good Writing
    • Short Paragraphs
      • In English class, you may have been encouraged to write long paragraphs for your essay.
      • In news writing, though, your paragraphs are kept short.
        • Short paragraphs look better when typeset into a long, skinny column in a newspaper.
    • Traits of Good Writing
      • Take charge and develop your own ideas
      • Develop strong leads
      • Examine the story from all angles
      • Revise and rewrite
      • Do an “AP style” check
    • Principles of Clear Writing
      • K.I.S.S.
      • Avoid tangled sentences
      • Don’t show off with “big words”
      • Use active voice not passive voice
    • Active Voice
      • Active voice uses a subject-verb-object structure
      • ACTIVE: Joe Smith wrote the book.
      • PASSIVE: The book was written by Joe Smith.
    • Spelchek Yer Werk
      • Everyone makes spelling mistakes…so use computer spellcheck technologies to your advantage
    • Proper Nouns
      • In reporting, it is critical that you get the name correct of the individual or business
      • Many well-known businesses are commonly misspelled
    • Common Mistakes
      • J.C. Penney – not Penny
      • Marriott: hotel chain
      • Men’s Wearhouse: not warehouse
      • Procter & Gamble
      • Berkeley, Calif.
      • Columbia – University or Washington, D.C.
      • Colombia – South American country
    • Commas
      • Use commas to separate items in a series, except just before “and” (example: Red, white and blue)
      • Use comma with semicolons when dividing complicated materials, such as names and titles
        • Example:
        • “ Alexis Lew, president; Stephen Ro, vice president; Cathy Smith, treasurer, and Natalie Hack, secretary.”
        • Note that you switched from the semicolon to a comma before the “and”
    • Beware! Exclamation Point!
      • Use exclamation points sparingly
      • Usually a period or question mark will be sufficient
    • Hyphen
      • Use hyphen as follows:
      • 13-year-old girl
      • 30-second commercial
      • One-minute break
      • 15-page paper
      • Three-day cruise
      • 24-hour hotline
      • Queen-size bed
    • Quotes
      • When quoting a source, make sure that the quotation marks are placed outside the other punctuation.
        • Example:
          • “I enjoy teaching,” she said. “I created this guide to help you.”
    • Writing Tight Sentences
      • Do not repeat key words in the same sentence
      • Example:
        • “The University of Hawaii students have been attending University events…”
    • Numbers & Things
      • Spell out single-digit numbers (nine and below)
      • Use figures for numbers 10 and above unless:
        • the sentence begins with a number
        • You are expressing money, age, dates, etc.
    • Writing Tips
      • When writing about the current date, do not use the year. It’s obvious.
      • When dealing with money, omit the decimal point when the amount is even
        • $25 not $25.00
      • In writing amounts with many zeros, use the word “million,” “billion,” etc.
    • Said vs. Says
      • Use “ said ,” NOT “says” in interviews and quotes
      • Use “ says ” when referring to a printed document or sign
    • Other common mistakes
      • “In regard to…” NOT “In regards to…”
      • “Toward” NOT “Towards”
      • “Often…” NOT “Often times…”
      • “Try to…” NOT “Try and…”