NEWSWRITING began with a handful of silly words.
I’ve been a television newswriter since 1982. From the start, friends would tease me about those funny phrases they’d hear on the news… “Details Are Sketchy”… “Firestorm Of Controversy”…. “Every Mother’s Worst Nightmare”… stuff no normal person would ever use in normal conversation. In 1996 I collected a bunch of those terms and published them. And the Groaners were born!
That article led to a semi-regular 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 NEWSWRITING, 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.
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 crowds out lively conversation.
Simple, clear, conversational, spoken English is the best way to communicate broadcast news. Tools like “The Groaners” make that clear.
Today’s NEWSWRITING has a broader focus, examining the rapidly-evolving news business, lauding those professionals who do things right, and calling out those who don’t.
Hope you enjoy what you see here. Let me know!