Powerful Writing


The Poynter Institute http://poynter.org in St. Petersburg, FL is home to a well-regarded institute for the advancement of Journalism.  Home to the Politi-Fact franchise and frequent commenter on journalism ethics issues, the institute continually seeks to advance the field of journalism.

I’m not a journalist.

For my museum clients, I research and write text panels, labels, exhibit briefs and proposals.  Texts where word count many times is as important as word choice.  Where every word matters.

On Saturday, the institute offered a day-long class on Powerful Writing.  Five topics taught by four award-winning journalists.  I learned how to research and pitch story ideas from Alexandra Zayas; how to describe characters using words other than adjectives from Jacqui Banaszynski; how to find and work the focus of the story from the concrete to the abstract – what is the story REALLY about from Tom Huang; setting the scene in your writing (creating immersive written experiences) from Jacqui; and finally, how to make every word count and edit ruthlessly from Roy Peter Clark.

The class was made up of about 30 local and 40 people online from Africa, England (BBC), North Carolina and etc.  An online ombudsmen seated at her computer in the room chimed in with comments from online; the local peoples’ comments were broadcast to the online participants.

I took 15 pages of notes which I’ll apply to my next project!


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