|About The Site
Newswriting.com began with a handful of silly words.
Ive been a television newswriter since 1982. From the start, friends would tease me about those funny phrases theyd hear on the news... Details Are Sketchy... Firestorm Of Controversy.... Every Mothers Worst Nightmare... stuff no normal person would ever use in normal conversation. In 1996 I collected a bunch of those terms for an article in Communicator, the monthly magazine of the Radio and Television News
Directors Association. And the Groaners were born!
The Communicator article led to a semi-regular Newswriting column, which attracted the attention of news directors around the country. Soon I was giving seminars at local stations, network newsrooms, broadcasting conventions, and in college journalism departments.
The original website, launched in 2001, was the next logical step: an online version of those seminars. The goals were to help anyone who writes news for broadcast, and to improve the writing quality in newsrooms everywhere.
Watching or hearing a news story should be a satisfying experience. The words, pictures and sound should inform, engage, captivate, stimulate thought, and yes, even entertain, in the strictest sense of the word.
None of that can happen when scripts are bloated with jargon or clichés, prose is weighted down with nonessential trivia, bad habits supplant common sense, and formula style takes the place of lively conversation.
I have always believed that simple, clear, conversational, spoken English is the best way to communicate broadcast news. I hope the tools provided on this site have been helpful to newspeople trying to learn that form of writing.
Newswriting.com re-launched in January 2006 with a broader focus. In addition to helping people write, Id like to start some discussions of the things we write, and why we write them. Why is a story newsworthy? What important stories are not being covered? Whos doing a good job out there? And whos embarrassing themselves and the rest of us?
I look forward to sharing my thoughts and those of my colleagues with you, and I invite you to respond with insights of your own. Were going to keep the conversation meaningful and edgy, but also civil and respectful.
Hope to hear from you soon!