The new tech tools are cool, but I still get more excited about great writing

I created a list on Tweetdeck for journalism industry news a couple of years ago. It is not complete, but there a lot of good sources there for what is happening in the industry. I rarely have the time I want to scroll through it and read everything I want. But I did this afternoon.

The first Tweet to get my attention was this one:

I read Clark’s blog post on Poynter.org with great interest. His book about writing short is on my short list of books to get. His “Writing Tools” book has been helpful.

I was telling students the other day that the goal isn’t to write something short as much as it is to write all the parts of it short. If the sum of the parts is long, maybe it deserves to be. But if each part is concise, then that 2,000-word story will read like a much shorter story. And the story that should be 300 words won’t be 500.

As I scrolled through my Twitter list I was struck that over a six-hour period and hundreds of tweets only two were specifically about writing. Others were about reporting, which is great, technology, the business side of journalism, etc. Those things are of interest, but if I am a geek about anything other than sports trivia it is about writing.

I have always cared about writing, but now that I teach writing it is on my brain almost too much. Still, I fear that the art of writing is a casualty of digital progress. Writing is a part of all journalism platforms, so I must be serious about teaching it as well as I am able. The new stuff like drones and VR matter. We have a drone coming soon for use to figure out journalism applications for and to have a little fun with. And VR applications like this tweet promises are exciting.

But writing in all its forms will always be what matters most. That’s why I love tweets like this one.

Sometimes three words are worth more than a picture.

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