Journalism vrs. English

Subject: Journalism vrs. English
From: DFIERRO_at_TECHPUBS%lanierwsm -dot- UUCP -at- MATHCS -dot- EMORY -dot- EDU
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 1995 16:07:03 LCL

Ron Miller wrote -

> I was trained as a journalist prior to becoming a tech writer. I
> believe the two fields are related in many ways. You must explain
> sometimes complex situations in simple language to the lowest common
> denominator in your audience. You must work to pull the information
> out of sources and draw your own conclusions as well. But most of
> all I think the ABCs of journalism (accuracy, brevity, and clarity)
> are essential to good tech writing.

I don't believe journalism has anything to do with technical writing,
besides the obvious point that both involve stringing words together
in a coherent fashion.

I also worked as a journalist prior to becoming a technical writer.
My educational background was BA/English, much to the derision of my
fellow journalist with "legitimate" BA/Journalism degrees.

Many of my fellow journalists graduated from the same school as me,
the University of Rhode Island, where the School of Journalism
department head was an English professor.

At the newspaper where we all worked, my editor was impressed with the
fact I knew what a plural possessive was, whereas the more
traditionally educated journalists seemed to struggle to reach an 8th
grade read/write comprehension level.

NOTE: I understand that the reading comprehension level of the
general audience has dropped from 8th to 6th grade level.

If you have moved on from journalism to technical writing,
congratulations!

If you haven't, you probably wouldn't be reading this anyway.

Dan Fierro
dfierro -at- lanier -dot- com
dfierro -at- st6000 -dot- sct -dot- edu


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