Get the name of the dog and other writing tips
Get the name of the dog.
It's a time-honored newspaper axiom that when you're writing a story that includes a dog -- or really any pet -- you need to include its name. People relate to a dog with a name. It's how good reporting leads to good writing
That was just one of the tips from B2 Communications' Kyle Parks and Missy MacFarlane Sept. 28 at the Public Relations Society of America Tampa Bay Chapter's Professional Development Day. The presentation was heavy on lessons drawn from the St. Petersburg Times newsroom Kyle and I once shared.
His first tip was an ode to Rob Hooker, a longtime editor at the Times who shaped many reporters: "Hit them over the head." That flowery nine-paragraph lead-in is probably just going to lose your readers. Get to the point.
Some of their other tips:
-- Embrace the "nut graph." Tell readers why they should care
-- Write in active voice. A strong subject-verb carries power.
-- Be your own toughest editor. They advise cutting at least 10 percent of your copy on the first read, and MacFarlane prefers the final edit on paper.
-- Read quality writing. Whether it's long or short, read quality writing and think about how the writer organizes information and tells the story.