Change Your Words – Change Your World

Whether you are writing a news story on deadline, creating an impactful brand for a client, or getting someone’s attention with an email – the words you chose provide the emotional direction. Think its all about the visual?

In the video below, an already compelling message is magically transformed. You will hang on to the end.. of that, I am sure.  Let me know what you think.

COPY POINT: Effectively Using “How, Where, When, etc” in teases

You’ve all heard my thoughts on our over-use of “How, Where, When, etc” in our story sells.  You know “Drunk driving crackdown, We’ll show you what cities are involved.. “,

Today, I want to point out how those words can be used effectively to create a truly unique content promise.


How, Where, When teases often do not work because they promise what viewers already expect in our story.

This one tantalizes with the prospect of insider knowledge.  The underlying message is that it will be new, fresh news.

2012 National Edward R. Murrow Award winners

The Radio Television Digital News Association has announced the 2012 National Edward R. Murrow Award winners. The awards honor excellence in electronic journalism.

For the fourth consecutive year, NBC News won the Edward R. Murrow award for Overall Excellence in the network television grouping. NBC News also won National Murrows for Video Newscast and Writing.

In the same television grouping, ABC News earned three Murrow Awards in 2012 – for Video Breaking News Coverage, Video Continuing Coverage and Video Reporting: Hard News.

CBS News took the awards for Video Feature Reporting and Video Investigative Reporting in the network television grouping.

In all, 67 news organizations are being honored with 99 awards, listed after the jump.

Continue reading “2012 National Edward R. Murrow Award winners”

COPY POINT: On The Loose

The first step to breaking free from journalese is to stop using words and phrases that come to you automatically; force yourself to replace them with language you would use in a one-on-one conversation.

Exhibit A – “On The Loose”.

It has it’s place – “There is a snake on the loose in my apartment. There is a moose on the loose in the city.”

I get it. But do we want to have criminals “freed from their confinement and roaming aimlessly.”

Why do I suspect the criminal is hiding, running, plotting more crimes – it would indeed be a rare criminal just roaming around aimlessly.

Let’s add “On The Loose” to the words best saved for escaped animals and look for words that do a better job of explaining the comings and goings of our criminals.

Check the facts: 10 tips for copy editors

Pam Nelson, with the American Copy Editors Society, has put together a nice Check list of items that ALWAYS need fact checking. A great reminder as we start the new year.
Pam readily admits her is list by no means is my list definitive. “Editors have many more things to be aware of — fairness, balance and internal consistency among them,” she writes.

1. If a date is mentioned in the story, either recent or historical, check it. Nothing will undermine credibility like misstating the date of a historic event. Even if you are almost certain that Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, check it. If a writer refers to the Enlightenment being a part of the 17th and 18th century, check it. (I just did.)

2. If the name of a well-known person appears in a story and you have any hesitation about it at all, check it. I can’t even count the number of times I have corrected the spelling of actor Dan Aykroyd’s name. You should also check the spelling of lesser-known people if you have time or doubts.

3. If a writer uses a place name that you are unfamiliar with or that is often misspelled, check it. The copy that I read most often has North Carolina names that need to be checked. (Alleghany, not Allegheny, is one.)

4. If there is arithmetic in a story, check it. Keep a calculator handy. If a writer says that the Declaration of Independence was signed 235 years ago, check it (2011 – 1776 = 235). If a percentage change is mentioned, check it. If a person’s age appears in a story and you can check it, do. Check the birth date of well-known people and do the math.

5. If the story refers to a number of items within the story (15 steps to better health, 10 reasons to use an iPad), count the items. Make sure a well-known list (12 zodiac signs, 50 states) is complete if it is meant to be.


Emmy Awards Show Great Work Still Being Done


Always good to honor the great work still being done in our industry. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences presented its 32nd annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards Monday night.  TVNEWSER reports: CBS News dominated its competition, pulling home 10 awards–the most for a network news division in a decade. In addition, former CNN host Larry King received a lifetime achievement Emmy (pictured right with Brian Williams and NATAS chairman Malachy Wienges).

National Geographic Channel was next with seven awards, followed by PBS with six awards and Discovery Channel with three awards. CNN, NBC News and the New York Times all tied with two awards each, with BBC America, MSNBC, HDNet HBO, the Los Angeles Times, CNBC, NPR and Smithsonian Channel each landing one Emmy.

See the Entire Winners List Here.