Summer Writing Mini-Workshop: On Journalism


Journalism should be literal; fiction can be figurative.

If a newspaper clipping has significance for you, use it in a post to tell your side of the story.

As a former writer for a student-run newspaper, I browse old issues not just to learn history but to steal from it.

If you need to practice writing in AP (Associated Press) style, and you’re more of a creative writer, try writing mock newspaper stories for your blog based on the town and characters you’ve created.  

A couple of summers ago, I had the opportunity to write a tribute piece for the college newspaper. This kind of feature writing has helped me not only tell the stories of others better but also my own.

Writing for your blog will help you tell your own stories better, writing for a newspaper, the stories of others.

Sometimes, being a writer isn’t just about writing what you know but sharing what you know.

Having worked for a college newspaper, I’ve found lots of inspiration from other college newspapers. The same principle applies to why you can’t be a writer without being a reader.

If you like current events, hard news articles are for you; if you like history, feature stories are for you. Both have their place in journalism. I’m always a week late and several dollars short, so the story behind the story is my cup of coffee.

Every one of us has a story. It is up to the writer to make it interesting.  Know what to quote directly and what to paraphrase. Know what facts to use and what to leave out (but still tell the truth).  Know where to start and where to end.

“How-To” writing is in demand, but unless you’re an expert, take the time to interview those experts. Do the legwork (rather than the “click work” from Google).

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