Fantastic criticism from Michael Kinsley on what’s wrong with journalism today. Read the whole thing, but here’s the major points:
1) Over-hyping: Reporters waste too much explaining to you just how important everything is, instead of just telling you what happened.
2) Rely less upon outside experts. They’re just a cop out that keep the reporter from explaining what’s happening in his own words. Do this well — and news outlets build credibility.
3) Don’t use protective qualifiers when their isn’t any doubt.
4) Don’t be verbose — “Reforming health care” rather than “a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s health care system.”
5) Don’t get too far away from inverted pyramid style, i.e., keep the important details at the top of the story.
6) Don’t end cute. Stop trying to wrap up every story with a catchy close.
On the first day of my first real job in journalism—on the copy desk at the Royal Oak Daily Tribune in Royal Oak, Michigan—the chief copy editor said, “Remember, every word you cut saves the publisher money.” At the time, saving the publisher money didn’t strike me as the world’s noblest ideal. These days, for anyone in journalism, it’s more compelling.