What Should Every Writer Know About Journalistic Writing?

Late last fall, I announced I’ll be teaching at the 35th Annual Southeastern Writers Association conference (yay!).  Believe it or not, that is at the end of this month(Where does the time go, I ask you??)

Right now, I am putting the finishing touches on my workshop, “The Well-Prepared Freelancer: Journalistic Writing and Its Benefits for Writing of Any Kind,” but I need your help. (Pretty please?)

When I originally designed the course and pitched it to SWA, I intended it to be a four-class workshop, in which I’d teach the basics of journalistic writing and then show how to apply those skills to not only news stories but to other types of writing (i.e., query letters, manuscripts, short stories, etc.).*

However, with all the great presenters who are going to be in attendance at SWA this year, they were only able to fit me in for one class.  So, while I still intend to do this, I am somewhat limited on how much I can cover.

My question to you, Dear Blogosphere, is: What should every writer know about journalistic writing?

What questions do you have?

What do you think is important to know about it?

Furthermore, if you were attending a course like this, what would you expect to take away?

(Okay, that was technically four questions—but it’s a writing conference, not a math conference!)

I would greatly appreciate any thoughts you might have on this subject, as I whittle down my syllabus.

Thanks in advance, pals!  *mwah* (That was a kiss, not the beginning of my evil laugh!)**

Leave a comment, or I'll gnaw on your kit-ty. MWAH-HA-HA-HA-HAAAAA!!

*Click here to see my previous post on this, where I go more in depth in terms of my my purpose and rationale for the class.

**No, I don’t know what’s with my colored text today.

2 thoughts on “What Should Every Writer Know About Journalistic Writing?

  1. Not sure if these help or not, but what the hay.

    My dad’s a journalist and he’s a great reader because he can’t read without having at the words. When I give him something I know the feedback he’ll give me will devote a lot of attention to grammar & word choice. The result of this is that I notice and cut lots of adjectives and adverbs and my verbs get stronger. I don’t share stuff with him unless that’s part of what I want.

    Here’s a question:
    is there a difference between how journalists and creative writers approach revision?

    I’m working on several non-fiction (but not journalistic) pieces right now and am thinking a lot about how I want to employ suspense.

    what, if any, role does suspense play while a journalist is working on a story and does that role show up in the actual piece?

    If those rambly thoughts are at all helpful, then HOORAY! I hope you follow up on how this goes.

  2. Thank you so much for your input, Paulo. Yes, I’ve definitely got some stuff in there on word choice. Not only do we have to be strong in our verbiage, but we also have to be precise. Whereas “slashed” might be the most vivid verb to use, but that isn’t probably the best word choice when doing an article on a murder. Think of the victim’s family. Consider liability.

    V. interesting about suspense. Especially when you consider inverted pyramid style. It doesn’t really allow for it. But certain types of leads do.


    Lots to think about!

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