Um, you might want to know this

not teaching, still THINKING … Um. It’s a word that fills time when someone is thinking while speaking. We hear it so often — and use it so often — that it can go unnoticed. Other filler words, however, are not so subtle, particularly when used as a transition of sorts, at the start of […]

Context can enhance even a solid story

BIG numbers. How can journalists convey how big? A good example is found in the work of Manny Fernandez of The New York Times, whose story about Houston after Hurricane Harvey carries the headline: “Over 21 Miles of Highway, Snapshots of a Resilient Houston.” How can we visualize the size of Houston? Fernandez shows us […]

May you keep up with industry news

MAY you … For the month of May, we are devoting this blog to our wishes for journalists present and future: “MAY you … “ Every day, you will find a tip, a tidbit or a top-of-mind piece of advice we hope will help you now and later If you are a journalist, young or older, […]

Tips to achieve lively language

Writers love words, right? And there are so many choices. Choose wisely. One way is to focus on strong verbs and the active voice. Make it a top priority to achieve lively language. Following are some tips to get you started. How to strengthen verbs Weak: There are good reasons to use strong verbs when […]

Don’t be too casual with your writing

If you text or email from your mobile devices, then you know how easy it is to communicate by making up words, abbreviating words, omitting words and leaving out punctuation — CU@8, for example. This punchy way of talking serves a purpose. It gets the message across on a small screen in a readable way, […]

How can you recognize a good lead?

Anyone who publishes stories, whether a brief or a long-form piece, must develop an instinct for what makes a good lead. In places where editors do the publishing, they are ultimately responsible. Sometimes this means coaching writers to improve their leads. Other times it means staying out of the way of writers who already possess […]