Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Word Economist

Nov. 15 - It is almost an hour before Minnesota's First Lady is going to call ME to chat briefly about her newest acquisition - a butterhead carved in her likeness. A man I interviewed just called to go over the story I wrote about him. We tweaked a couple of things and as usual, I was thankful for the clarification. There are many areas of his field that are not second nature to me, and that can be painfully obvious in my writing. His feedback enabled me to make the story better, which is fantastic, but even better, he paid me what I deem a high compliment. He told me he liked my "prose" and that I was a word economist. I am a firm believer that the newspaper is no place for wordiness and highfalutin terminology. I was once informed that the average reading level of newspaper consumers was eighth grade. While I don't know that this is still accurate today, it was a "fact" that made me take pause. Big, beautiful words and colorful language has its place in literature and in magazines, but in newspapers I believe it only serves to alienate. This is not to say I don't like to paint a picture for my readers. I do. But too much paint on a canvas can ruin a lovely picture.


trish said...

Nicely stated.