ASSIGNMENT No 1
JOURNALISTIC WRITING (MCM610)
The objective of this assignment is
To involve students in analyzing an opinion page content of a newspaper.
To make them familiar with the basic elements of professional writing.
Writers remain more concern about the fluency of ideas within their writing. They mostly stick to one style of writing that goes on throughout their writings. Besides this the writer maintains the following order in their writing:
Clear communication of ideas
Organization of main idea
Based on the above given pattern of writing, read the opinion page content of Dawn Newspaper at the following link and identify strong areas of the writer in his/her writing.
Read the Opinion page content.
Analyze each Piece based on the order of writing given above.
Identify the strong points in each opinion page content.
Students will learn
How opinion page content is written.
How the different elements of writing has been maintained in the content.
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Style refers to the way we express ourselves in writing. While there is no one standard style that every writer must follow, there are two key elements in an effective writing style. One is readability, meaning the use of words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs in such a way as to communicate facts and ideas clearly. The other is elegance, meaning the use of appropriate and interesting words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs to produce graceful, unobtrusive prose that will keep a reader's attention and interest. Good style communicates information effectively. It moves the reader along easily from word to word, sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, and one section of the paper to the next. Bad style is boring and often confusing.
Bad: John Smith, realizing that he had perhaps only one last opportunity to bring order to a community torn by strife and lack of bureaucratic efficiency, decided to assume absolute control over the Jamestown settlers.
Better: John Smith decided to assume absolute control over the Jamestown settlers, realizing that this might be his last opportunity to bring order to a community torn by strife and lack of bureaucratic efficiency.
Bad: It is a safe assumption to state the idea that the attitudes of our forefathers have affected the entire course of history.
Better: Delete the first ten words. Begin the sentence with: The attitudes of our forefathers . . . . . (Communicates the same idea much more forcefully and directly.)
Passive voice: President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth.
The same information, recast in the active voice: John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln.(The passive voice is usually in the form shown in the first example: the word "was," followed by the past tense of the verb, followed by a preposition.)
Overuse of the passive voice is one of the most common style errors in college student papers. The passive voice is weak; things are happening to people rather than people doing things. Also, the passive voice is wordier, therefore more boring. (One cannot always avoid the passive voice, especially if the subject is not known, or if it would sound strange [or be wordy] to specify a subject.)
Bad: The civil rights movement of the post-World War II era among black activists in the South and sympathetic liberals in other parts of the nation and among some leaders in both major political parties was part of a progressive tradition aimed at elements of society with legitimate complaints against the prejudices of the majority of persons in twentieth-century America.
Better: The post-World War II civil rights movement attracted black activists in the South and sympathetic liberals throughout the nation and had the support of some leaders in both major political parties. It was part of a progressive tradition which sought to meet the legitimate complaints of persons suffering racial discrimination at the hands of many twentieth-century Americans.
Wordy: The chief talent of Daniel Webster was his gift of oratory.
Better: Daniel Webster's chief talent was . . . .
Bad: The problem, as Houston views it, is how to keep his army intact. Meanwhile, Santa Anna pursues him relentlessly. (Change to viewed, was, andpursued.)
The following excerpt from an actual history term paper illustrates the problem:
It seemed the years of prosperity were to come to an end for Castroville. In the 1880s, Castroville rejected a proposition from a railroad company due to the cost and it was subsequently built five miles south of Castroville. This killed the freighting business of Castroville almost at once, and in 1892 the county seat was also moved to Hondo. Many of the people of Castroville moved to the new county seat, while others moved to San Antonio.
Better:A particular case of the same problem: Avoid repeating pronouns referring to the same person throughout a paragraph (she, her, hers, she, she, her, etc.). This is boring. Solution: In some of the instances, use of the person's name, title, or other words and phrases which identify the person.
The situation changed in the 1880s, after Castroville rejected a proposition from a railroad company to construct a line through the town. It was subsequently built five miles south of the community. This quickly killed off the local freighting business. In 1892 the county seat transferred to Hondo. Many Castrovillians moved there, while others withdrew to San Antonio.
This is difficult to define and describe. Perhaps it is useful to suggest that elegant writing style is neither colloquial and "slangy" nor too much given to fancy, polysyllabic words, either. It is graceful, aesthetically pleasing, and unobstrusive. Following are suggestions to help you write with in an elegant style.
Jackson was fixing to (change to about to) leave for his plantation in Tennessee but reconsidered when he heard what Calhoun had said.
Grant was drunk a lot of the time. (Change to much.)
It seems to me that Senator McCarthy should have realized that he had gone too far in his "witch-hunt" for suspected Communists. (Delete the first five words.)
Napoleon's greatest mistake, as I see it, was his invasion of Russia in 1812. (Delete the phrase set off by commas.)