Re: Journalism vrs. English

Subject: Re: Journalism vrs. English
From: gina jerome <gina -at- ROARK -dot- ITG -dot- TI -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 Apr 1995 11:10:25 -0500

Put on your asbestos gear, Dan. I generally don't get incensed over
topics on this list, but you zinged a few items here that show you're
obvious subjectivity and, I'll be kind, naivete.

> I don't believe journalism has anything to do with technical writing,
> besides the obvious point that both involve stringing words together
> in a coherent fashion.

I adamantly disagree. Journalism is highly related to technical
writing. Journalist are trained to explain complex matters in a
manner that is comprehendible to the general public. Good ones
are systematic in their approach, thorough, and methodical. How
much knowledge has been gathered by reading the newspaper or
perusing a magazine? You can thank good journalist for providing
clear, concise information and being excellent teachers. I find
it incredibly rude of you and highly arrogant that you would assume
that journalist, as well as tech writers, simply "string words
together in a coherent fashion." Try taking a few journalism
courses from an accredited college and then attempt to make such
an inane statement.

> At the newspaper where we all worked, my editor was impressed with the
> fact I knew what a plural possessive was, whereas the more
> traditionally educated journalists seemed to struggle to reach an 8th
> grade read/write comprehension level.

It would be admirably (but possible?) if you would not generalize and
lump your experience as the "norm." The struggle most journalist have
in writing at an 8th grade level stems from a highly educated background
and thoroughly knowledge of their subject, which makes stripping that
down to a basic everyone can understand a difficult task indeed. And
too many good journalist are getting knocked out of the water because
the horrid pay drives them into other professions. That, and lack of
appreciation, no doubt.

> If you have moved on from journalism to technical writing,
> congratulations!

Uhmm... I can only wonder what Jack Anderson or Woodward and Bernstien
would make of your comment. Do you think that journalists who's bravery
and dogged determine changed the face of history would appreciate someone
congratulating them for "moving on to technical writing?" Give both
professions their due credit and please do so without lambasting one
or the other. Both are highly commendable, challenging professions.
The same goes for the great literary geniuses who've shared their
talents with the world. Each make a significant contribution in their
own way, and should be respected for doing so.

Gina Jerome
gina -at- roark -dot- itg -dot- ti -dot- com

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