When World's Collide!

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"If you had asked me the difference between writers and communicators when I was an undergraduate English major, i would have said that writers major in English and communicators major in communication.  Not so.  To parse  the difference between writing and communicating, consider:

  • Writers know a lot of words.  Communicators know which word to use when, how, and why.
  • Writers know what to write.  Communicators put value on how written content is relayed, the manner in which it is presented, in what format, and how frequently.
  • Writers express themselves through words.  Communicators may express themselves through words accompanied by pictures, music, charts and diagrams, and interactive media."  (Lemire 156)

i thought that this was interesting even though i disagree with it.  i mean Lemire makes a good point, but aren't writers also communicators?  writers write to communicate with the world around them.  we, as writers, just do it in a different way.  we may use words in different context then a communicator would, but its still all the same thing!  writting is communicating!


I agree, this is an old-fashioned distinction.

Here's a distinction I feel is a bit more useful... communicators deliver a message that someone else pays them to deliver -- (a political candidate, a corporation, an activist group). The communicator is obligated to try to put their client in the best possible light. (Note the positive spin Lemire puts on that -- "Communicators put value on how written content is relayed..." That means that communicators wouldn't value content that emphasizes negative things about their client.)

A journalist is obligated to look at multiple sides of an issue and report the truth (to the best of his or her ability). Thus, a reporter who happens to support a particular political party might sometimes publish articles that make that party look good, and sometimes publish articles that make it look bad. A reporter's salary is paid by the news organization, not by the people covered in the newspaper. (Although the big TV networks are owned by huge corporations that also own things that the reporters are likely to cover... for instance, Disney owns ABC.)

A writer can work for a candidate, for a corporation, for a news organization, or (like our recent guest Michael Sims) as an independent.

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