Writing with Personality
From Cappon’s The Associated Press Guide to News Writing:
“You can avoid mumblers by being specific and concrete, giving the reader a picture. A clever phrase, a touch of humor, and an ironic contrast help.
MADISON, Wis. (AP)—State Sen. Clifford “Tiny” Krueger eased his 300-pound frame into a witness chair Friday and said fat people should not be barred from adopting children” (26).
I have to admit that newspaper writing does not really appeal to me. The writing is flat and for the most part devoid of personality. I mean no disrespect to journalists because I think being so concise is a great skill to have. Often times, people just want the news. They don’t want to be entertained. They can watch the TV or read a book for entertainment. And certainly, the ability to be concise is a good trait to have sometimes as an English major. Sometimes your professor doesn’t want a long drawn-out paper so he/she limits it to only a few pages. For me, this is tough because I have to be conscious of what phrases I choose so I don’t run over the page limit. In a case like this, packing my sentences with meaning is important; I’m learning a little more about that by taking this class.
But back to the quote, I picked this because it is packed with personality. It’s funny while still delivering the pertinent information. The reader gets entertained a little but still is presented with the facts. In other words, reading leads like this is heartening for me because I realize that there is a little room to make someone laugh. I also love this lead:
“YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio—A car sliced through a fast food restaurant Tuesday, killing an elderly couple who had stopped for lunch on the way to a family member’s funeral. Six other people were injured” (27).
Atlantis Morissette would have a ball with this one. Only this is actually quite ironic, unlike her song. The only thing that stumps me is this; would you mention the fast food restaurant in the lead or wait to give this information later in the article as it appears this one did?