Journalism first and gems in the middle

By · Friday, November 8th, 2013

It arrived in the mail this week. Landed in our mailbox. The one at the curb, not in the computer.

A postcard.

Imagine that. I cannot recall the last time I received a “picture postcard.” This one was from Lake Placid, and it was sent by a friend who surprises us from time to time with a note or a phone call.

Those are nice surprises. We like them and enjoy them. They make us smile. Kind of like the nice surprises that thoughtful writers strategically place in their stories. A detail here. An anecdote there.

Roy Peter Clark, of The Poynter Institute, is a longtime proponent of these. He teaches writers how to reward readers with these little gems, which he calls “gold coins” — #32 on his list of 50 Writing Tools: “Place gold coins along the path. Reward the reader with high points, especially in the middle.”

We spend a lot of time these days talking technology. Using it. Teaching it. Adapting journalism to it. That’s all great. We need to do that and should be doing that.

But amid all of the disruption we experience in the journalism profession today, one constant remains. Stephen Cvengros said it well in a tweet when he was named vice president of content for Syracuse Media Group back in September. “Always remember media friends: It is ‘Journalism first.’ “

That is always good to hear.

It’s also good that postcards are still in circulation. And that some people still send them.

Emilie Davis

Comments are closed.