Tag Archives: journalism

What Words and Phrases Can We Eliminate From Our Writing?

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 10.57.36 AMHow can Twitter’s 140 character missives, and pithy Snapchat highlights get translated into our everyday writing as communicators?

Every time I reach for my AP Style Book, I am reminded of a college journalism professor who left her mark on me for a couple of reasons: First, we had weekly quizzes on the AP Style Book, which was a great way to learn and practice the rules. And if you weren’t sure there was a rule, at least we all learned to use the book to see if a rule existed.

Second, she was a stickler for writing in the simplest terms, using concise, action words and cutting out fat from our writing. Following is a list of words or phrases that should be eliminated from our writing, along with a suitable replacement word. Just like Bitly and Tiny URL help us shorten URLs for social media, this list can help tighten all of our writing. What are some of your favorite words or phrases that can be omitted and replaced with a single word?

Instead of: Use:
In order to To
Utilize Use
Very ugly, very fat, very angry Hideous, obese, furious
In the event that If
On account of the fact that

Because of the fact that

Due to the fact that

Because
In spite of the fact that Although, though, despite
In the absence of Without
In the event that If
A large proportion of Many
In a situation in which When
There is a need for Must
Subsequent to After
Impact on Affect
Along the lines of Like
At the present time Now, currently

 

 

Journalism and Growing Trend of Click-Baiting

HBO’s John Oliver takes on the media’s attempts to sell his show’s content through sensational headlines and clickbait.

As media outlets look to grow their shrinking audiences and advertising budgets, they are turning to popular online platforms to share stories and drive engagement.

The New York Times for instance, is setting the bar for how it presents its stories online, by including video, graphics, podcasts and photos. It’s refreshing compared to the tired ink and paper version that fewer and fewer people find on their door steps each morning. But, as some media outlets are looking to truly engage and embrace online platforms, there are others that are simply driving their audiences to digital properties to drive clicks, which they will somehow count as audience growth and sell to advertisers.

This trend is called clickbait, content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page or to comment, with the goal of growing audiences and digital revenue. It has nothing to do with journalism, although it can be cloaked as such.

Read more after the jump…

Journalism and a Trump White House: What are the PR Takeaways?

Saturday Night Live Sean Spicer Press Conference SkitNo matter what side of the aisle your political beliefs fall, it’s hard not to watch the very public antagonistic relationship President Trump and his administration are having with the media.

While President Obama had his fair share of scuffles with the media, they didn’t get the kind of attention President Trump’s school-yard battles are getting now. After several decades during which the media has lost trust, credibility and interest among Americans, will the new President bring back the Fourth Estate to its former glory?

I recently came across a Politico article titled: Trump Is Making Journalism Great Again. According to the article, there’s always been a quid pro quo in Washington, where journalists groom sources, but sources also groom journalists. “There’s nothing inherently unethical about the back-scratching. When a reporter calls an administration source to confirm an embarrassing item, the source may agree to confirm as long as the reporter at the very least agrees to listen sympathetically to the administration’s context.”

Read more after the jump…

Reports: Denver Post Hedge Fund Owner Squeezing Profits

The Denver Newspaper Guild held a rally outside The Denver Post condemning downsizing actions by owner Alden Global Capital. Provided by Denver Newspaper Guild

The Denver Newspaper Guild held a rally outside The Denver Post condemning downsizing actions by owner Alden Global Capital. Provided by Denver Newspaper Guild

Media covering itself is always a challenge particularly among competitors. But alternative weekly Westword did a good job of detailing the changes and challenges facing The Denver Post in a long-form article this week. Also, this week 5280 magazine did a piece on the Post’s new normal.

The focus of the articles is on its hedge fund owner, and its track record of squeezing profits at the expense of a diminishing product. The Westwood piece chronicles the failed attempts by the newspaper and its owner, Media News Group, to reinvent itself in the changing media market. In case you don’t want to read the entire article on the Post, here are some highlights:

Read more after the jump…

John Oliver “Reports” On Loss of Newspapers, Journalism

John Oliver is witty, profane, irreverent and dead serious, all at the same time.
So when the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” took on print journalism as his long-form topic earlier this month, the result was insightful and devastating.

His 19-minute tribute to local newspaper journalism covered what those in the industry already know, but he presented it to a wider, general audience not familiar with much more than simply the industry is on life-support. He offered the “why” and, more importantly, “what it means.” As he tells it, quite accurately, local newspapers are the bread and butter of journalism and create most if not all content for television reports.

To bring home the point of how local newspapers have changed, Oliver and his team created a comic version for a fake movie trailer based on the journalism biographical movie “Spotlight.” It’s deadly how accurate it is.

Take a look at the entire segment:

Is AP Style Still Relevant?

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 11.02.16 AMIn today’s 140-character world, does AP Style still matter and why should I care? It depends who you ask. The truth is, AP Style does matter and is the standard in the U.S. if you’re a journalist, writer or work in public relations and marketing communications. If you’re not familiar with the AP Stylebook, it’s a “reference for writers, editors, students and professionals. It provides fundamental guidelines for spelling, language, punctuation, usage and journalistic style.”

While the AP Stylebook has been around since 1953, each June it releases a new printed edition and is available online for an annual subscription. For longtime AP Style followers, sometimes the updates make you crazy, like now that it’s acceptable to use “over” as a synonym for “more than” i.e. “She earns over $30 million a year” versus the old way “She earns more than $30 million a year.” It’s just as important for longtime users to stay up on the changes as it is for new writers to become intimately familiar with the guidelines.

Read more after the jump…

PR Complaints About Journalists

Changing JournalismMedia complaints about public relations pros are well known: too many lame pitches, misleading pitches, ill-timed pitches and incessant follow-ups.   But it’s a two-way street.  PR folks can be just as frustrated with with the media. Digiday offers some pet peeves that agencies have with the media. I can attest that all of them are based in some reality. Here are some of the highlights submitted by PR firms to Digiday, along with some personal experiences: Read more after the jump…

AP Style Alert: Don’t Capitalize “Internet” or “Web”

CfC8A9LWQAMsHF_For all of the copy editors, grammar nerds, journalists and language style sticklers, there is news of a relatively big-ish change in the rules.

As of June 2016, The Associated Press, AP for short, is updating its rules to lowercase the words “internet” and “web” in all instances, including web page, the web, web browser.

The AP Stylebook is a media and business standby, and offers a guide in grammatical correctness and language nuance. What’s behind the change? Some wordsmith bloggers are saying that it marks the inclusion of the Internet (uppercase here since rules are not in effect yet) in our culture and expansion of the meaning of the word.

Read more after the jump…

Forget News, Media Cares About The Digital Hits

ChicagoTribuneIt’s common knowledge that media outlets are pushing their audiences to digital and social media platforms as traditional news mediums keep shrinking.

But last week there was a pretty blatant example of how desperately the media are pushing the digital angle. As reported by media blogger Jim Romenesko, the Louisville Courier-Journal recently started a contest among its reporters to push mobile and social media content.

It was set up similar to a March Madness bracket, and the reporter who gets the most hits, shares and follows over five weeks will win an Apple Watch.

Read more after the jump…

Reporter Talks About Being Human In Goodbye Column

Jack Broom Seattle Times

Using the two-way radio in a photographer’s car, Jack Broom calls the newsroom with the details of a breaking story in 1978. (Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)

Over the years, I’ve read many farewell columns by retiring or transitioning journalists.

Even before the profession hit this sustained downturn, I mostly thought these columns were self-serving, focusing on the glory days of news reporting, and self-aggrandizing about news stories uncovered.

With so many departing journalists, the farewell column has become cliché, and editors are surely loathed to provide the opportunity to all those leaving. And readers, remember them, aren’t interested.

This week, however, I came across a particularly poignant goodbye column by a reporter retiring from The Seattle Times after nearly 40 years.

Jack Broom was a general assignment reporter, which means he usually covered the big stories of the day, and when there wasn’t breaking news, he would work on occasional feature stories. General assignment reporters are a special breed; they can cover a legislative hearing one day and a volcanic eruption the next with the same grace and poise.

Broom started reporting when newsrooms were filled with typewriters, and over the years had the dubious honor of writing obituaries for his colleagues. There are few journalists left like him.

Broom saw his role as a journalist quite simply. “My goals have been straightforward: To tell readers something about the community and world they live in, and — if possible — help them enjoy the time they spent with the newspaper.”

Read more after the jump…