Avoiding the Trap -- Writing Visually vs. Writing in Journalese

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During my reading, I found an interesting tie between a topic covered in Chapter 3 and the general area of Journalese covered in Chapter 5.  The Ch. 3 section titled "Try Writing 'Visually'" says a reporter can avoid writing ineffective leads by "being specific and concrete" and that "a clever phrase, a touch of humor, and an ironic contrast help."  This seemed like good advice for a newbie like me, who often really feels what the book calls "The Agony of Square One." 

However, this advice was somewhat complicated by the discussion of Journalese in Chapter 5.  I could easily see my attempts at being clever or humorous down-spiral into a bad case of Journalese, by relying on "particular catchwords and cliches" and generalizing words and phrases like "called for/on" and "concern(ed)."  Reading these chapters together in one assignment helped me clearly see that skills helpful in writing a catchy and effective lead can, if overused, do more harm than good in the body of an article. 

 

 

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