Re: Texts to Simulate "Keeping Up w/ Des

Subject: Re: Texts to Simulate "Keeping Up w/ Des
From: Bill Burns <WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 10:00:20 MDT

Glen Accardo wrote:

"In interviewing tech writers recently, I've noticed that English majors
believe the world really works that way. Journalism majors seem to know
more about digging and piecing things together and playing one source
off another to get down to the real truth."

Journalism students may have a little more knowledge about how to play
one human source against another, but writing about literature has much of
the same features--except that literary criticism requires the writer to
play one written source off of another. If one element is definitely
similar about technical documents and literary criticism, it's this: a lot
of bad examples are published. A student of literature, much like a technical
communicator, has to piece together a coherent argument using often poorly
expressed (but valid) ideas. In my experience with engineers and
equipment manuals, I've found an equivalent formational dialogue taking place.

Research is only one part of this issue. Since the structure of a critical
essay procedes (or should procede) in the same manner as a logical argument, it
mirrors the linear structure of procedure writing. Journalism uses a far less
linear structure. As far as how tech writing classes are taught, that certainly
could be a problem that needs to be addressed in academia. These classes
should be taught be people who have at least worked in the technical
communication field.

Granted, each field has its strong points. In any case, experience is probably
the greatest instruction.

Bill Burns *
Assm. Technical Writer/Editor * "Purgamentum init,
Micron Technology, Inc. * exit purgamentum."
Boise, ID *
WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM * Henricus Barbatus


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