10 Reasons Journalism Makes You a Better Writer

Inspired by this lovely post, I reflected on one of institutions that has most influenced my writing for the better.

I am speaking, of course, of journalism.

While I wouldn’t quite call myself a journalist by profession, I must admit my education and career would seem to point in that direction. I created my first mock newspaper in an elementary school program, joined the newspaper class in middle school, was on staff at my high school’s newspaper, and reported for my university’s newspaper, news television station, and news radio. Along the way, I engaged in freelance reporting and criticism, leaning more and more to the latter as time went on.

Eventually, I found my niche in arts and entertainment criticism. However, the lessons I have learned from different facets of journalism have deeply affected my writing.

1. K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid.)

2. Answer the W’s first.

3. Deadlines are deadly.

4. Opinions are not facts.  The diff b/t subjectivity and objectivity.

5. Always dig deeper.

6. The right word can make a difference. (But if you’re stuck, any word will do.)

7. Know your audience. [Or, think outside the box?]

8. Details make the story.

Whether its a brief finance report or a lengthy human interest feature, every piece you write depends on details.

9. Never be afraid to ask for help.

10. Don’t be afraid to voice unpopular opinions.

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