Back to basics

I started working before the word processor as we know it today and the graphical desktop became mainstream. In fact, in my first few weeks on the job, I used a typewriter.

When I joined The Freeman, a Cebu City-based community newspaper, in 1996, its newsroom was using networked PCs running DOS. It took me a while to get used to writing using a “word processor.” I was scared at sitting in front of those green monitors and their menacing command prompts.

Back then, when reporters sat in front of the computers it was to write stories. The writing program occupied the entire screen and you could not multi-task. There were no games in our newsroom PCs and the Internet could only be accessed on one computer.

Improving your writing skills: Lessons learned online

The best way to improve your weblog is to improve your writing. No amount of search engine optimization and membership in blog rings can make people regularly read your site if the articles are poorly written. A newspaper editor once said: the easiest thing for the reader to do is to quit reading.

Some people are born with a gift for writing but for most of us, improving our writing skills is a tedious but rewarding process of continuous learning and rewriting.

Fortunately for us, there are a lot of good websites that offer tips on how to improve our writing skills. Here are some of the sites that I frequent. I hope a few bloggers find the list useful. If you know of other sites, leave the URL in the comments field.

Media doesn’t, media don’t

I changed the title of the post immediately preceding this from “Why mainstream media doesn’t get it” to “Why mainstream media don’t get it.” The word media, according to the Columbia Journalism Review’s (CJR) language corner, is plural. CJR, however, concedes that examples of the use of the word as singular are “practically infinite” and […]

“Ing” weakening verbs

Apparently it does. See how stronger the headline would be if you say: Ing weakens verbs. Poynter’s Roy Peter Clark writes in his 51st writing tool “Too Many ‘ings’“: Let me offer reasons why ‘ing’ might weaken a verb. 1. When I add an ‘ing,’ I add a syllable to the word. This does not […]

Perfectly timed death

In crime news reports, you’d hear or read victims being brought to hospitals and declared “dead on arrival.” It seem such a perfectly timed death – victims dying on arrival. Of course, what is meant by the phrase is that they were declared dead by doctors when their bodies were brought to the hospital. “Dead […]