Keep it simple

Here some definition of a good writing:

Never use a long word when a short one will do.

( Orwell, 1946)

Keep it simple. Use clear language.

(Thomson Reuters,2012)

In the realm of journalism, words are wielded like powerful tools, and the language of journalism is an entity unto itself. Journalists are entrusted with the weighty responsibility of delivering news and information to the public with accuracy, clarity, and integrity. This article explores the distinctive language of journalism, the principles that guide it, and provides examples that illustrate its nuances.

  1. Clarity and Precision

Journalism is characterized by its clarity and precision. Journalists aim to convey information in a straightforward and easily understandable manner. This is essential to ensure that readers, viewers, or listeners can comprehend the story without ambiguity. For example:

Example 1

“The local school board has decided to increase the budget for educational programs by 15% this year.”

In this sentence, the use of specific figures (15%) and clear language (“increase the budget for educational programs”) ensures that the reader comprehends the essential information quickly.

2. Objectivity

Journalistic language is inherently objective. Journalists should strive to provide a balanced account of events, issues, or topics, without expressing personal opinions. This impartiality is essential to maintain the public’s trust. For example:

Example 2

“Both candidates presented their views on healthcare during the debate. Candidate A emphasized cost reduction, while Candidate B focused on expanding access to healthcare services.”

In this passage, the journalist refrains from endorsing one candidate’s stance over the other, maintaining objectivity.

3. Attribution

Journalism often employs attribution to cite sources and credit information. This practice adds credibility and transparency to the reporting. For example:

Example 3

“According to a statement released by the White House press secretary, the new policy will be implemented next year.”

By attributing the information to the White House press secretary, the journalist provides context and accountability for the statement.

4. Conciseness

Journalists are skilled in conveying information concisely. They communicate the necessary facts without unnecessary verbosity. This ensures that readers can quickly grasp the key points of a story. For example:

Example 4

“The company reported a 10% increase in revenue for the second quarter, surpassing analysts’ expectations.”

This concise statement delivers the essential information about the company’s financial performance without unnecessary elaboration.

5. Inverted Pyramid Structure

The inverted pyramid structure is a hallmark of journalistic writing. In this format, the most critical information is presented at the beginning of the article, followed by supporting details. This allows readers to grasp the core of the story even if they only read the first few paragraphs. For example:

Example 5

“In a historic decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality today. The landmark case, which centered on the right to same-sex marriage, marks a significant step forward for civil rights in the country.”

In this excerpt, the most important information—the Supreme Court’s decision in favor of marriage equality—is placed at the beginning, ensuring readers immediately understand the significance of the ruling.

6. Attribution of Opinions

When reporting on opinions, journalists attribute them to specific individuals or groups to distinguish fact from commentary. For example:

Example 6

“According to environmental organizations, the proposed legislation falls short in addressing key concerns about air quality. However, the bill’s supporters argue that it strikes a balance between economic growth and environmental protection.”

In this case, the opinions of environmental organizations and the bill’s supporters are attributed, allowing readers to discern differing perspectives.

The language of journalism serves as the foundation upon which the profession is built. Through clarity, precision, objectivity, attribution, conciseness, and the inverted pyramid structure, journalists convey the world’s events and stories with accuracy and accountability. These principles and examples exemplify the critical role of language in delivering information to the public in a truthful and digestible manner.

Recommended Articles

Skip to content