Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Columns and Blog Posts

One aim of Social Issues is to help readers express themselves in public and policy-oriented forums.

Dewey Society members are mostly teachers or professors. They can all write coherent sentences. Their school or college newsletters and newspapers are looking for fresh voices. Same for the newspapers in their towns. Same for Blogs like Social Issues, and many other vehicles aimed at public or policy communities.

From time to time Social Issues will recycle good 'how to' advice about writing for non-academic audiences.

In this entry the controversial BBC and Observer columnist Andrew Marr (pictured above), winner of Columnist of the Year in the British Press Awards, offers some useful advice on writing columns.

A good column and a good blog post share many virtues.

Marr says:

A column is not just an opinion – it has elements of reporting. Unlike news, columns can contain context, analysis, metaphor, historical analogy and humour, but consider telling the reader something new they may not have read. Look at the facts again to bring a fresh angle to a story. It’s the ‘actually’ bit that makes a good column sing.

Like any argument, a good column is something that can be expressed in one sentence. If you can’t, then it’s likely to be dull. If you have problems with this, use a colleague to sound it off against.

Tackle something different. A feminist will provide an interesting take on hooligan boys.

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