It lacks the power to engage and inspire. The ROTC had stored its rifles in Nichols Gym until 1942 when the Military Science Department got its own building. He seems to have a smart system to produce books, working with several co-authors. Relative deprivation was behind the structure that led to the pattern that led to the riot, the event. This is the most minute and specialized portion of what Jarvis called “the never-ending stream.”. As McPhee writes in his book “Draft No. But beware: random details bore readers, and make our writing needlessly long. Contact | Comment Policy | Privacy Statement | Terms and Conditions | Copyright © 2020 Enchanting Marketing Ltd. From: “Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me” by Andy Martin. Many short messages, each aimed by their sources at individuals or small groups that choose to follow them. The need for systems that synthesize and process data into shared knowledge will, I predict, become obvious. PRECISION JOURNALISM is simply the application of social and behavioural science research methods to the practice of journalism. My Skillset As a mutlipotentialite, I have skills in many areas: writing, speaking, debating, designing, drawing, coding, collecting and analyzing data, and solving interdisciplinary problems. Quantitative methods, once an exotic subset, were being enabled by the rapid drop in the price of computing power and the development of higher-level statistical languages. The longer description of a tennis serve is fair with little or no “fat” or repetition. Now check your email to confirm your subscription. Yes, it’s about finding the right balance, and choosing what to leave in and what to leave out. There was an error submitting your subscription. You can spend pages on pulling the trigger. His body straightens and tilts forward far beyond the point of balance. Social psychologists have long been concerned by what was first known as “the risky shift syndrome.” A graduate student in 1961 discovered that decisions made by groups tend to lead to more dangerous actions than decisions made by individuals. Today, he says, news is more of a process than a product. I participated in an early example. The narrative journalists, they said, “are subjective to a degree that disturbs conventional journalists and horrifies precision journalists. I appreciate it. It’s the Zoom-In-Zoom-Out technique: He zooms in on a specific exchange of strokes in the match, then zooms out to profile the players. And it’s the precise, detailed writing that increases the drama. Precision Writing Ltd. is a corporate communications company offering services in communications strategy, professional writing services, public relations, and marketing. Reacher Said Nothing: Lee Child and the Making of Make Me, How vivid language makes your ideas unforgettable, How to write descriptively, with oodles of personality, Decide where you want to slow down the pace of your story by sketching a vivid scene, Where possible use numbers—they give an impression of factual knowledge. Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, and that led to questions about Jimmy and requests for a followup. I appreciate the book resources, too. And the difference between a seminar and a lecture is that a lecture is better organized. I love that quote, too. There was Norman Mailer’s “The Executioner’s Song” and Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”, It was also in the 1960’s that some of us began to apply social science research methods—including statistical analysis and hypothesis testing—to the practice of news reporting. Last month we published “Shade,” by Sam Bloch.The article is an ambitious work of urban journalism with a powerful message: in a wide-ranging portrait of Los Angeles, Bloch argues that shade is a civic resource, a requirement for public health, an index of inequality, and a new mandate … Journalism education also benefits students going into law, politics, consulting, health education, business, and environmental and sports studies and many other fields that require information gathering, precision writing and visual communication skills. I’ve not read any of Fredrick Forsythe’s books, but it sounds like I have to give him a go! By definition, representative democracy is a deliberative process. Much. We must strive to report facts accurately or we will lose our credibility. I made that last sentence bold. You even learn that Ashe has practiced tossing tennis balls thousands of times. Traditional media were manufacturing products. From reading only one paragraph about one serve in a tennis match, you can deduce that McPhee knows a lot about tennis. From writing the perfect headline to successful use of grammar, this course will sharpen your writing ability in order to help you seek work in the competitive world of journalism Course Outcomes By the end of this course you should be able to: Demonstrate an understanding effective writing for journalism Write a good headline Have the confidence … Covering thought leadership in journalism. But as technology increases the number of channels, the new information economy supports more specialized content—many messages, each reaching a few people. Nobody reads every word of a newspaper or magazine. Both genres, narrative journalism and precision journalism, are special forms requiring special skills. ROTC, of course, is the Reserve Officer Training Corps, a four-year program that allows an undergraduate to earn a military commission at the same time he or she receives the baccalaureate degree. “When a broad table is to be made, and the edges of the plank do not fit,” he said, “the artist takes a little from both and makes a good joint.”. That help could end up looking very much like “articles.”. He, in my view, is the master storyteller. An environment that rewards specialization need not limit itself to subject matter specialization. As Steve Jobs said in his Stanford Commencement address, it is easier to connect the dots looking backward. In essence, all the other new journalists push reporting toward art. Here’s to precision and brevity in writing 🙂 Reply The News/Editorial (Print) Journalism sequence prepares graduates for careers as writers, reporters and editors. His feet draw together. And it demonstrated that better record keeping by government regulators could have provided some early warning. ProPublica, based in New York City, teamed with The Seattle Times last December to report on the home mortgage crisis in the USA. Fifteen-forty. Today’s information technology, as you know, encourages the formation of like-minded groups. As a journalist, I have researched and collected data on the decline of journalism in the modern day as well as conducted investigative pieces for the paper. Instead of being limited to articles, consumers can just reach into “the free flow, the never-starting, never-ending stream of digital.” In this view, just keeping the flow going is the main job of journalism, with articles sometimes useful as a byproduct. I recently did 4(!) He plays the game with the lackadaisical, haphazard mannerisms of a liberal. CPM is less important today as a measure of the value of advertising. AP style is also a very specific element of journalistic writing that one must become familiar with and master to do well in journalism. I appreciate it. It is easier to make sense of events that have occurred over a long span of time. If adjectives are needed, specific adjectives help create powerful images. Let’s go back to that first paragraph of McPhee’s book on tennis …. But they don’t because that statement lacks precision and credibility. Did you become curious whether the serve would go in or out? Hints may be developed by the precis-writer.6. More low‑light detail. That running technique sounds complicated! Now, I’d like to empower you to find your voice, share your ideas and inspire your audience. Jimmy Breslin, my favorite news writer, had a piece in New York magazine in 1968 that I liked to use in my news writing classes—as an excellent example of writing—and in my ethics classes as a poor example of reporting. Breslin covered a portion of Robert Kennedy’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for president and was with him when he spoke to students in the field house at Kansas State University. Its implication is that few (if any) details are individually essential, while the details collectively are absolutely essential. Select a suitable title for the proposed precis-writing.5. For instance, Apple could have written: The iPhone XS screen shows images in a more natural tone. The Pulitzer Prize was awarded to the staff of the newspaper for the totality of its work, the spot coverage, the narrative interpretations, the investigations into the 43 deaths, and the survey. In 1980, a Washington Post reporter, Janet Cooke, wrote a heartbreaking narrative piece about a 13-year-old heroin addict named Jimmy. 3 visual thinking tips for writers How vivid language makes your ideas unforgettable How to write descriptively, with oodles of personality. Clay Shirky of New York University sees an inevitable period of chaos. What they have in common is recognition that raw data require structure to be made coherent. I feel like I’ve had a lot of fun writing my posts recently. I gave enthusiastic speeches claiming that this new technology would prove as revolutionary as the invention of movable type. In other words, the old media will have to change, too. Now that media are “social, global, ubiquitous and cheap,” as Clay Shirky says, we can no longer think of “the public” in the same way. “He is falling” is exactly how it feels in the weight transfer of hitting a good serve. Before we think about that possibility, let’s consider a little history. Instead of replacing journalism, the Internet is creating a new market need: for synthesis and interpretation of the ever-increasing stream of facts. Someone in Andy Martin’s book (not Lee Child) calls Patterson the McDonald’s of writing – a franchise. To give reporting the rich, creative structure of fiction, the writer must first assemble a very large body of facts, and then choose those that can fit a narrative structure. I call this “ease of use,” and it is facilitated through well-crafted articles, multi-media offerings, and web architecture. A good place for journalists to look for hypotheses to test is in the conventional wisdom. Precision writing is distinct from fiction writing, where the main objective is story telling. I wonder how much can be attributed to the way that new forms of media, especially social media, enable the clustering of polarized viewpoints. It won’t be often that the two skills, analysis and narrative, can be combined in one reporter, so we’ll need more team reporting and editors capable of recruiting and managing the necessary talent. A lesson in writing and a lesson in tennis, all in one. “You should write the fast stuff slow and the slow stuff fast.” That is my favourite takeaway here. Thank you . Editorial writing teaches students to read critically, to digest and prioritize information quickly and to write clearly, accurately and succinctly. Meanings often evolve over time, but in journalistic writing, we stay true to the book. I appreciate it. The basic principles are the same in the 1990's, but the technology has changed dramatically. Picture your article in the shape of a triangle widest at the top with the point on the bottom. This genre is often called “precision journalism,” a term coined by Dennis. For information, contact the area director of the journalism program, 206 Williams Hall, 513-529-5893. Three times as likely, in fact. Narrative journalism combined with precision journalism could do that job. Although the information moved electronically, it moved slowly, on the telephone wire, at 300 baud. They were crude. How to engage and inspire with precise writing. Age allows us to view things from different perspectives. The quality of the audience is more important than its quantity. Even better low-light photos. While the riot was in progress, at the Free Press we covered the event with interviews and direct observation. In journalism schools, the concept of precision journalism–the application of social and behavioral science research methods to the practice of journalism–found a ready market. K. McPhee’s book provides a lot of insight in tennis. Actually it reminds me of this running technique I once tried: “The Pose Method of Running technique consists of three elements: Pose – Fall – Pull and it accepts gravity as the primary force for forward movement instead of muscular effort.”. The feature that users liked best was e-mail, but that failed to arouse our interest because, we thought, e-mail had nothing to do with newspapers. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for his fourth term in 1944, one of his speeches reached 83 percent of those listening to radio. That tension is absent in the brief statement “Ashe starts on serve.”. That is why it is not so wild a dream that evidence-based journalism, incorporating precision with narrative, could fill a need for trustworthy interpretation and selection of the relevant truth from the eternal data stream. I have just finished a Lee Child novel and I noticed exactly this about it — that he draws out moments that in reality are over in a flash: and his writing is so much more compelling and readable as a result. We want lower taxes and more services. Tennis is fascinating! “What was in that building,” he asked the students. “Nobody,” he kidded, “wants to hear an 80-year-old lecturer not named Einstein.”, But being old has its advantages. His build is barely full enough not to be describable as frail, but his coordination is so extraordinary that the ball comes off his racquet at furious speed. To captivate your readers with your story, the details need to be relevant. W. Russell Neuman, the American political scientist, made the same point in 1991 when he published “The Future of the Mass Audience.” Newspapers were powerful because their expenses on the production side created a bottleneck that led to natural monopoly. But he is going to hit this one. Greater analytic and narrative skills will be needed. Precision Language for News Writing. When I read that, I pictured a dotted line in my mind showing the trajectory of the ball. We take the time to understand your brand, your goals, and your vision – and then bring it all to life. Perhaps he was misinformed. Unorganized facts are not enough. This program provides students with a liberal arts approach to integrated journalism (print, broadcast, and web) focusing on proficiency in critical thinking, writing, reporting, and editing. That falsified the riff-raff theory. This is such a memorable technique and example. It didn’t help that the early practitioners sometimes got caught making things up. If the reader is scanning through the paper and reads only the first line, he should get a good idea of your article’s content. On Sunday nights in the USA when I was 11 years old, 75 percent of the radio audience listened to the same program broadcast nationally on the AM band: the Jack Benny show, 30 minutes of music and comedy. The other process is further upstream in the system. Your first line should be the most important. Another way to report pattern and structure is through storytelling. I have read Ithiel de Sola Pool’s book “Forecasting the Telephone” in which he looked at the many different consequences that experts were foreseeing when the telephone was in its early adoption stage, from 1876 to 1940. Some novelists tried it working from the other direction, creating the nonfiction novel. With eagerness, I’d read yet another description of an exchange of shots: Graebner lifts the ball. He is falling. The questions were designed to test those conjectures. I think I have unconsciously employed this trick of writing fast slow, and slow fast, in a story I wrote that was fairly popular. A 1967 Nieman Fellow, he has written a number of books including “Precision Journalism: A Reporter’s Introduction to Social Science Methods” and “Ethical Journalism: A Guide for Students, Practitioners, and Consumers.” He was a reporter with the Detroit Free Press during its coverage that won the staff a Pulitzer Prize in 1968 for their detailed investigation into the causes of the Detroit race riots. Anti-war sentiment in the 1960’s led some universities, including Harvard, to ban it from their campuses. Thank you for your comment, Anthony. Science creates structure with what Lippmann called schematic models, which come from theory. A story needs to ebb and flow. All those facts, in the “never-starting, never-ending stream of digital,” need to be integrated into meaningful themes and conclusions. Makes sense. Clarity vs accuracy. If you have ever had the experience of organizing the transcript of a seminar into a coherent published product, you’ll know what I mean. Four simple rules exist on writing precisely without becoming long-winded: Precise writing is about your attitude and your expertise. It was the underlying structure that we were worried about in our Detroit post-riot coverage. I’m not accusing Breslin of making the ROTC part up. We need new institutions to build new media forms that will let truth stand out from the noisy babble and command attention because they are trusted and comprehended. Interviewing is one of the most effective ways to add depth, expertise, and precision to your writing. Could it even be an ace? If it is too short it feels like the author simply didn’t put any care into explaining it properly. But I’m no tennis expert. The civil rights movement and the anti-war movement of the late 1960’s and the 1970’s were ideal topics for the application of precision journalism, and it has since become a standard tool for investigative reporters. 1.4.2 Precision Journalism Precision journalism is a term coined by Everette ... Today, professional journalists rely on the computer-and not just for the writing. But the reader deserves to know when fiction is the vehicle for the purported truth. Take on any writing project with gusto. I was surprised how fascinating it is to read about one tennis match. Since the end of World War II, journalism has been evolving from a mass production model to one of more intimate communication. What changed to cause the riot? The ROTC building was then, and is now, at the other end of the campus. I’ve often thought the players look as if they are falling forward in that moment before connecting with the ball; the description rings true for me. Their creative nonfiction has a more personal voice than conventional news writing. I will try and remember Lee Child’s line. His narrative recalled the passion of those Midwestern students and how Kennedy had aroused their latent political activism with his opposition to the war in Vietnam. In that year, the portion of gross domestic product spent on food manufacturing, i.e. I am a graduate of Kansas State University. Bravo! Philip Meyer's work in precision journalism established a new and ongoing trend-the use by reporters of social science research techniques to increase the depth and accuracy of major stories. In the summer of 1967, Knight Newspapers sent me to help the Detroit Free Press and its overworked staff cover an inner-city race riot. When hunting and gathering were the main sources of food, few had the luxury to be very particular about its quality. You cannot run a democracy by referendum, because a referendum presents each issue in isolation. Precision means that each word should be used as it was intended by its original “dictionary” meaning. Maybe its practitioners are getting better. The more I learned about the backstory—about how the players grew up, their family, their training, their characters, and the psychology of the game—the more fascinating the match becomes to me, as a reader. (Yet again) Marisa, And I’m glad this post was worth waiting for. McPhee intertwines the story of the tennis match with profiles of the players. Now extend this trend toward specialization to the present day, and what do you find? We have grounds to speculate. Both precision journalism and narrative journalism appeal to a sophisticated audience, one that appreciates the need for information to be structured in a way that focuses attention on the truth. Love love this post, Henneke! It comes from the 1947 report of the Commission on Freedom of the Press led by Robert M. Hutchins. Editorial writing teaches students to read critically, to digest and prioritize information quickly and to write clearly, accurately and succinctly. This is the adapted text of the Hedy Lamarr Lecture Meyer delivered at the Austrian Academy of Sciences on October 3. The arsonist was an emotionally disturbed undergraduate whose grievance had nothing to do with the war in Vietnam. In 1967, there was no shortage of it. He describes a lot of action and concrete details. Once again read the passage for proper understanding of the material facts.3. If that prescience is impressive, consider Walter Lippmann. The rising aspirations theory. If we were to blend the two, what should we call it? , Thank you, Trevor. I like the term “evidence-based narrative.” It implies good storytelling based on verifiable evidence. Awesome article, Henneke. The goal of the course is clear written communication for media writers and for other creative and business professionals. Precision Journalism is a must-read for journalists intending to do in-depth reporting in the 21st century―whether it involves polling, data analysis, or understanding complex reports. Do you see a pattern here? I find it fascinating to see how Lee Child uses this technique. They can stand out so clearly from the noisy confusion of information overload, their value could be so rare, that everyone will want to pay attention to them. Thanks for the share! Benjamin Franklin expressed it well during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The truth about the facts: That is a nice phrase, but it is not mine, nor is it a redundancy. Amazing read and thanks for breaking it down with us Henneke. And so journalism was a matter of creating a few messages designed to reach many people. The defense of those who make news too much like fiction is that they are conveying “a higher truth.” Indeed, fiction will do that. Neil Felgenhauer wrote a chapter on precision journalism in The Magic Writing Machine, a book produced by Dennis's seminar and published by the University of Oregon School of Journalism. Perhaps you have heard of Grover Norquist, the American citizen who has made it his mission to track down lawmakers and persuade them to sign his pledge against tax increases. edit rounds of a 2500+ words article. For instance, I do like watching tennis, but I’ve tried listening to a match on the radio while commuting, but I never liked that. The case of the Detroit Free Press in 1967 foreshadowed this development. They experienced difficulty in being socialized to the urban environments of the north, with its very different living conditions, and so resorted to rioting. He is exaggerating quite a bit, if you ask me, just for dramatic effect ‘He is falling.’, I’m not sure that’s an exaggeration because it does look like a falling movement until the player steps forward. I have been reading Carl E. Schorske’s “Fin-De-Siècle Vienna,” an account of the swift political and cultural changes that the industrial revolution brought to this city late in the 19th century. JRN 102. Citizens can offer Twitter updates from a scene, and reporters can look for patterns a This is what Lee Child, the inventor of Jack Reacher and a master in story pacing, says about it: You should write the fast stuff slow and the slow stuff fast. It is applying social science research methods to … The publication of ""Precision Journalism"" in 1973 established a new trend in journalism--the use by reporters of social science research techniques to increase the depth and accuracy of major stories. Use sensory details to make your descriptions more vivid. I only came across it recently and knew immediately that one day I’d use it somewhere. I’m going back to it and see if I can edit to make it even better, now that I grasp the process. What matters is how he plays his tennis. For myself, sometimes it’s a puzzle trying to determine what to shorten and what to expand on. It can also build a specialty based on methodology. This doesn’t just work in sports journalism. Journalism uses an “inverted pyramid" style. The successful entrepreneurs will analyze the market need and then work backward from that, building a system to meet a verified need, not an imagined need. We are not equipped to, The riff-raff theory. It was an electronic home information service that we thought would revolutionize the news business. When sales copy is too brief, it sounds hyped up—as if it’s written by a marketer who doesn’t really know what she’s talking about. The burned out building was Nichols Gymnasium. One way or another, it makes for dramatic writing! Thank you for your compliment, Deborah, and for weighing in on the debate on whether Ashe was falling or not. Journalism requires a delicate balance between detail and brevity, precision and creativity. I am not the first to suggest this. I have some experience to support that observation, having been present at a big change that stalled. Social networks encourage polarization by confirming and amplifying extreme views. The social sciences then were on the brink of a revolution. They required economies of scale to cost-justify their means of production – a printing press or a broadcast transmitter. But it just takes So. The lecture was also sponsored by Medienhaus Wien, a think tank based in Vienna, Austria. It is an honor to be here and share my thoughts about the changing news business. Just like you can write pages about pulling a trigger, you can write a whole paragraph about one serve in a tennis match. Shade in the Skid Row neighborhood, Downtown Los Angeles. Another mantra, which I still write in chalk on the blackboard, is “A Thousand Details Add Up to One Impression.” It’s actually a quote from Cary Grant. This calculation gave all audience members equal weight. Excellent post and powerful message for writers. Parabola … that’s the word that made me see it. Think about how they shoot breaking waves – it’s always in slow motion. Journalistic writing allows for an objective and concise practice of writing. The precis-writer should read the full passage thoroughly to get main theme.2. Only time will tell, but information ought to help democracy, not hurt it. My argument today is that, in the 21st century, we should consider the possibility that we need both. :). So the theme of Breslin’s narrative was that anti-war radicalism had reached all the way to conservative Kansas in the middle of the continent, and he drove the point home with the ending, what journalists call “the kicker.” Student protesters burned the ROTC building. These are very helpful insights for bloggers, copywriters and writers of all kinds. There should also be no slang or abbreviations. You need to hook the reader from the beginning else he will quickly move to something more exciting. The sentence “The dog jumped up on the boy” is a simple statement. (3) A practical laboratory for English-language writing in the news style. I have to agree, that it is about finding just the right balance in between too long and too short. New media, even though production is cheap, could create scarce value by improving quality farther upstream in the process, at the creative end. The information marketplace is moving us inexorably toward greater and greater specialization. What you want to teach: Precise words make writing vivid. So is information technology the cause of the current gridlock in the national government of the United States? Loved the examples and the quotes, they are cherries between layers of well structured topics. For instance, McPhee doesn’t describe what Ashe is wearing. It suggested that the needed institutions will be the spontaneous result of market forces. In “The Vanishing Newspaper: Saving Journalism in the Information Age,” I compared the digital age to the development of agriculture. This is how your story should be built. A continuous flow of details would exhaust readers. And in the United States, we passed a milestone in 1983. At the time, the Pulitzer committee preferred to recognize individual effort, but staff awards have become more common as well-managed news organizations bring a variety of skills to bear on major stories. Some of the forecasts were quite accurate. Here’s how he starts his book “Levels of the Game” (for ease of online reading, I have cut his first paragraph into three): Arthur Ashe, his feet apart, his knees slightly bent, lifts a tennis ball into the air. Once again, we might be able to send a few messages to many people, a reversal of the de-massification of the media. That suggests a deep understanding. For example one made in 1906 held that the telephone would facilitate the central management of political organizations and campaigns.