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Journalism: Writing and Style


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Writing lecture for my 200 level Multimedia Writing course.

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Journalism: Writing and Style

  1. 1. Spring 2010 Good Writing, Style
  2. 2. <ul><li>Questions from Ch. 1 and Ch. 3 </li></ul><ul><li>How news is gathered </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Associated Press, Reuters and other wire copy like PR Newswire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reporters gather news </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Week Three Readings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Oatmeal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media College </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grammar Girl </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>More on Good Writing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid long, complex sentences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put the best information first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sentence organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Write in active voice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid technical terms and jargon </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid unnecessary words </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get a thesaurus/dictionary </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>More on Good Writing (cont.) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid clichés </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If using slang , remember </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can the sentence be written another way? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some slang words/terms are not well known </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid generalizations and if </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>List titles of sources first </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Capitalization – titles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Capitalize title of authority before a name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>President Barack Obama or President Hosni Mubarak </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use lowercase when standing alone or following a name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The president met with the attorney general. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Capitalization – directions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Capitalize names of specific regions and areas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Middle East, East Allegheny </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use lowercase when referring to a compass direction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They headed east. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Capitalization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Capitalize the if is part of organization </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The American University in Cairo </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capitalize titles of poems, films, books, songs, TV shows , artwork, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use quotation marks around titles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The Grapes of Wrath” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>Capitalization </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Capitalize and spell out first through ninth in street names </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>129 Fourth St. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use numerals for 10 th and above </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1549 21 st Ave. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Abbreviations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Abbreviate months when used w/specific dates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Oct. 2, 2007 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In most cases, do not abbreviate the months of March, April, May, June or July </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Proper names are always capitalized </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Spanish book or French department </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Abbreviations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spell out first mentions of most organizations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subsequent references may use an acronym </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The American University in Cairo AUC </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abbreviations of well known organizations should not be spelled out </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>YMCA, FBI, IBM </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Abbreviations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Abbreviate doctor in all references </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abbreviate most professional and government titles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dr. Lisa Anderson </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not abbreviate president or vice president or titles of cabinet officers </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Names and Titles </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use a sources complete name on the first reference </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use only the last name on subsequent references </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not use Miss , Mr. , etc. unless it is a part of an accepted pseudonym </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mister Rogers </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Numbers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Spell out numbers from zero to nine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He gave me three dollars. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use numerals for 10 and above </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There were 16 apples in the basket. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Numbers at the start of a sentence are spelled out </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ten days later … </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Numbers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Use numerals w/distance, weight, ages, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>He is 5 feet 8 inches and weights 197 pounds. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The store offered a 15 percent off coupon. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>And spell out symbols like percent, point, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When specifying time, use numerals, a.m. or p.m. and day or date </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>4:15 p.m. Tuesday </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>Numbers / Money </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Money in millions or more, round numbers take the dollar sign; million and billion are spelled out </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The lottery is only $1.35 million this week. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Numerals are used in amounts less than a million </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The company earned $125, 000 on that project. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spell cents in amounts less than $1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>My brother found 15 cents. </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Comma </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Drop the comma before the and when you list items in a series </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Her dress was bright yellow, pink and red. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tight Writing Exercise #1 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>See handout </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>&quot;Remember , the easiest thing for the reader to do is to quit reading .“ </li></ul><ul><li>~Barney Kilgore, Wall Street Journal </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Project #2: Audio Essay </li></ul><ul><li>Blogging Assignment </li></ul>