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Ch 5-7: AP Guide to News Writing

Chapter 5 focused on the term Journalese, which is basically "applying excitement to the already established facts." Journalists often write in this manner in order to enahce their bland or seemingly boring stories. It involves "mechanically hammering" together phrases that use a plethora of un-needed adjectives. For example: Explosions are always violent and earthquakes always rip the earth and create an endless rocking. When one general term of this chiche' jargon takes on so many meanings, the precision is lost.

When I was reading this section I began to think that the principles of journalese were very closely related to writing literature, which is very different from news writing. The implementation of such colorful and descriptive hyperbole reminded me of reading literature. I pose the question; can a news writer be completely into his news writing on minute and the next write a literary work without clashing the two styles?

Chapter 6 was titled Tone: The Inner Music of Words. Tone depends primarily on the word choice of the writer. Words may mean the same thing but the should not be used interchangably. Often times, misued words destroy the tone of an article. I am reminded of the Microsoft Word built in thesaurus. It seems like whenever we are searching for a substitute word to place in a story,paper, or news article, it is simplest to just look on the Word Thesaurus. This is not a good practice. I know I do it all the time when I am in a jam and need some new spice to a sentence. I bet I'm not the only one either...

Chapter 7 Pitfalls: Attributive Verbs and Loaded Words. In this section I am posting my comment on the chapter that I left on Jason Pugh's blog. It basically sums up what I took away from the reading.

"When I first began news writing, specifically in this class and for the paper I was very worried about my personal use of the word said. I thought I was over using it so I began substituting it with other words that seemed expressive like, "explained, exclaimed, declared, stated,according to...etc". PS this was where my cart jumped right off the news writing track and crashed far down at the bottom of a canyon. Cut to me reading the comments from Jerz on my first story (the peer profile) and learning that saying SAID is OK!

You can write Said Pugh, or Pugh said, two slightly different but highly accepted ways of writing someone's quotes. I am now elated that I don't have to think of all those substitute filler words. I can rely on good old said. Prior to reading this section of the AP guide to news writing I didn't know there were negative conotations associated with 'pointed out, declared, and the word proved.' Now I know and I'm rarin' to say SAID INSTEAD!! (I rhymed)"

Comments (2)

Leslie,

Do you love literature writing or newswriting? I don't think one can go from abbreviated newswriting to prose like literature writing.

Leslie Rodriguez:

I love news writing for sure. I agree that the switch from writing in one genre/style to the other would be very hard on the brain. You might come down with more than a case of journalese. lol.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 12, 2005 10:34 PM.

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