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October 04, 2005

Stay out of it!

AP Guide to News Writing (Ch 5 to 7) -- News Writing (EL 227)

In Chapter 5 of the A.P Guide to Newswriting, Rene Cappon quotes Wilson Follett. Follett said, "In general, journalese is the tone of contrived excitement. When the facts by themselves do not make the reader's pulse beat faster, the journalist thinks it is his duty to apply the spur and whip of breathless phrases. Since these exsist only in finite numbers they get repeated, and repition begets their weakening, their descent into journalese."

Guilty! I don't know about you but this passage describes me perfectly. All my life I've been creative writing. I'd throw another adjective in here, or add some more colorful words in there. I've found so far that newswriting is facts, facts, facts! An article doesn't need any of my "helpful" adjectives to convey the story. No, I need to keep my "two sense" out of it. I've found that so far in this class I've been really watching what I write and it's amazing how many words aren't necessary.

I know there are a lot of Literature and Creative Writing majors in that class. Do you guys fee the same way? I think I just have to train myself and get used to writing in different ways.

Posted by AndrewLoNigro at October 4, 2005 04:59 PM


It's great to see students reflecting on how the assignments are asking them to rethink their writing process.

The great thing about training yourself to use adjectives sparingly is that, when you go back to creative writing, you can be more selective, and even scientific, about exactly why you feel your creative work needs this particular adjective at this particular point. You'll wield those adjectives more precisely, like a surgeon, when the situation calls for it.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at October 4, 2005 05:39 PM

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