28 January 2017

Rebel Rebel

David Bowie being sassy about the strict rules of journalism

Those of you who know me won’t be surprised to hear that I am not a very rebellious person.

In my history of schooling I have never had a detention, never handed in a major assignment in late, never even been grounded by my parents. At the most rules are made to be slightly bent, not broken

Which is why I was surprised to find myself wanting to rebel against all the rules that come attached to journalistic writing. I don’t mean this in terms of general advice or critiques of my work, which are in the main very helpful. I mean being told exactly how to structure a sentence, and then having to stick to this sentence structure throughout a piece. Having to keep all sentences to a maximum of 20 words. Having to remove all adjectives and punctuation from sentences where possible.

I know that there are best practices to every job, and that these exist for a reason. But if you always stick to these, it takes away all creativity from the role. I now realise journalism is a lot less about the writing then I originally thought. However, I refuse to believe that there is no room for a little rebellion when the writing stage does come round. 

Studies have shown that readers are looking for any excuse to switch off, and that adhering to the rules mentioned earlier is one way to keep them engaged. As a reader though, I think writers are most engaging when you can really get a sense that they are excited about a topic and have enjoyed writing about it. I think this comes from writers being given a bit of flexibility.

Personally, I love a long sentence.

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