I usually agree with your articles and find something useful in them. This one, however, seems a little silly. We were taught in journalism school to make the stories sound interesting, flavorful, and ear-catching, and if that means talking about the white stuff with a little eye-twinkle instead of simply saying snow four times, then so be it. Allegedly is one of those legal terms that gets us out of slander and libel. And fled on foot means exactly that he ran away on foot, not in a vehicle. This article was a bit of a groaner for me.
On Casual Anchor Style:
I could not agree more about news anchors going more casual and how it takes away from the product. I want my news from somebody in a suit, whether male or female. I appreciate the authority it gives the person when they are dressed as if ready for church. I do not want it from someone who dresses like the teenagers who hang out in front of my neighbors house.
The local NBC affiliate tried the casual angle a few years back - denim shirts and khaki pants for the guys, t-shirts and skirts for the ladies. They sat around a little desk on stools, like they were at a bar. It was a huge flop. No one wanted or believed news from people who dressed as if they worked at the Gap. I half expected them to teach me the basics of folding my shirts and jeans. I was very glad when they went back to the traditional news look.
Raleigh, North Carolina
On Bob Schieffer:
I completely agree about Bob Schieffer. I have loved his anchor style and delivery ever since I got to KCBS and I really started watching. I have always contended that the CBS Evening News had the best writing of all the evening newscasts that nobody ever watched.
The first time I ever saw Bob Schieffer sub for Dan was back in 1998 and he finished with this simple signoff ...."For the CBS evening news I'm Bob Scheiffer ...Dan's gone fishing." I've been a fan ever since.
Marina Del Rey, CA
On Police Pursuits:
While I agreed with you completely on the chase and why we really shouldn't cover most of them, I must admit I am mesmerized when they come on. One of my producers at Bloomberg always email's me, "Quick, there's a chase on Fox." Usually, I just watch without the audio. The most frustrating part is 99 out of a hundred times, I never learn what it was about, who was being chased and why. Oh well!
New York City
On Anonymous Sources:
I have also noted the print media changes in source attributions lately. I actually like it! I dont see it as reporters/editors/writers caving in to criticism and I dont agree that most of the criticism is coming from the far right wing. Ive read about plenty of left wing liberals complaining about reporters sources too.
As for the examples:
... A person who participated in the discussions... spoke on the condition he not be identified because the information was closely held
I like this sentence!!! It actually conveys multiple thoughts with very few words. Ive learned that the source is close enough to the action that he actually was there in the room and was privy to the discussion. It also tells me that others in this discussion wanted it to remain secret. As an investigative reporter I dont like secret discussions. I want to know everything about them!!! As a reader I appreciate the fact that someone is being quoted who actually knows something.
" We need new faces and new blood... said one senior House Republican who spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing leadership retribution.
Again, with those few added words, Ive learned all sorts of things as a reader. The source is a top dog an elected official who is bucking the pressures of his own Republican party! The source (is) not just some anonymous person wandering around Capitol Hill who opined that the GOP needs to change direction ITS ONE OF THEIR OWN MEMBERS! And, the guy is scared to come right out and say so because he fears the wrath of his partys leaders! Cool. That tells me a lot about the iron-fisted tactics of the Republicans. I covered Capitol Hill back in the 80s and I can tell you quotes from anonymous sources there cost less than a dime a dozen.
Im the first one in the line when it comes to wanting to keep sources secret. I cant imagine what my career would have been without that journalistic luxury. But, were in the information business. Why hold back any of the facts? Why not toot our own horns about the true value of our sources whenever we can? It only bolsters our own credibility.
New York City
On The Redesigned Newswriting.com:
I love your website. A friend who is in broadcast recommended it.
I am primarily a print journalist, of the old school mentality in
the esteem in which I hold the profession of journalism. Your site
and the advice on it makes me feel like I'm in a classroom with a
very good, and slightly cantankerous, professor. I will recommend
the site to the reporters and editors I work with at The Epoch
up the great work!
Genevieve M. Long
U.S. News Editor, The
Just passing along a quick note to say you've got a terrific site for reporters.... so terrific that I'm plugging it at my website because much of what you have is useful to newspaper writers as well.
Cheers and keep up with the excellent stuff.
Just a quick thank you for the fantastic articles on your website.
Im starting a video blog that covers financial news and am educating myself on how to write for my news segments. Your style of writing is so digestible and straightforward. Its fun and easy to read and has helped clarify vital points that I cannot read anywhere else on the web by so-called experts.
Again, thank you very much.
A Big Fan,
I have used your site often over the years, and refer my broadcast newswriting students to it. I'm glad that it has a new and broader mission. Now I have a place to send the horrid groaners and wretched syntax I hear....all the time.
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