The BBC website is my favourite website. They cover a lot of things I like, including football, politics, technology and languages. I’ve now discovered that they also have a section which covers writing. I saw the BBC College of Journalism (CoJo) website two nights ago, and I spent a long time reading through it.
I first looked at a Writing Masterclass video presented by Allan Little. He works for the BBC as a special correspondent. The video was created for radio journalists, but a lot of the advice was useful for print journalists too. He said that journalists need to use short, clear words in their writing. I don’t think I do enough of this. I’m going to focus on keeping my sentences short and simple.
Read read read!
He also said that writers need to spend a lot of their time reading. We should read novels and poems, and make a note of the sentences that we like. I need to do more reading. I’ll try to read novels by respected writers like Ernest Hemingway, O. Henry, Virgina Woolf, George Orwell and Agatha Christie.
Writing do’s and don’ts
I also looked at the Writing section. It is divided into the following sections:
- Words – avoid superlatives, and watch out for troublesome words.
- Grammar – what’s the difference between an adjective and an adverb?
- Accuracy in Writing – readers hate spelling mistakes and inaccuracies.
- Writing Rules and Choices – don’t use cliches, jargon or ‘journalese’!
- English Course – test your use of capitals, apostrophes and punctuation.
- Numbers – “1 in every 200 people” is better than saying “12% of people”.
- Writing Tests – how good is your spelling? Mind your Cs and Qs!
More reading to do
I thought I had read everything in the above sections, but today I realised that I hadn’t. I had ignored many ‘boring’ sections to get to the ones which looked more fun and interesting. I want to learn as much as possible from this website, so I’m going to go back to the sections I that I’d ignored. I still have lots of reading to do.