Poynter: How to make hard facts easier #journalism

Not a fan of listicles, but students, take note:

Over the next few months, Poynter will publish shortened versions of 21 chapters of the book “Help! for Writers,” by Roy Peter Clark. Published by Little, Brown, the book lists common problems writers face and offers 10 solutions for each of the problems.

Problem #12: How to make hard facts easy reading. poynter_tagline

#1 Translate jargon for the reader.

A champion of jargon-less language was Robert Gunning, who coached writers from many different businesses on how to take the fog out of their prose. A great first step, argued Gunning, was to simplify words and phrases that may have been inflated to create the impression that the document is more highfalutin than it is. Through his filter, accumulate becomes gather; ameliorate becomes improve; approximately becomes about; assistance becomes aid. And those are just the A’s! This works for jargon too, so that instructional units becomes lessons.

 

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