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NYT, Bob Baker and writing better

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by SF_Express, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Consecutive articles on Bob Baker's Newsthinking might interest the writers and editors here.

    The first is about the New York Times asking 10 staffers to to critique 1A stories over a 10-day period:


    The second is a compilation of comments about the first:


    Pretty good stuff about writing tighter, long anecdotal leads, nut graphs, etc.
  2. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    I brought this up to the top because it needs to read. It's very, very good. It's journalists talking about writing.

    Ya know what? That affects most of you. Jay Mariotti and Jason Whitlock affects almost none of you.
  3. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Yeah, I was going to bump it eventually, but thanks. Good stuff.
  4. FreddiePatek

    FreddiePatek Active Member

    Wow, what a delightful read!

    I agree with SF and Alma ... everyone needs to take a look at this. I for one can easily empathize with the anecdotal lede issue.

    Thanks, SF
  5. dixiehack

    dixiehack Well-Known Member

    From the second link ...

    That is a problem with the NYT especially, but it bleeds down to all shops, what I like to call "stations of the cross" journalism. It annoys those who understand the story's background and fails to inspire people new to the party to read further.
  6. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    Bumping one last time for the weekday crew, then done. Realize that it's more a read, not something to reply to.
  7. SportsDude

    SportsDude Active Member

    If you find these two links helfpful, Baker's book is a must-read. I have a copy I keep on reference. As a young reporter it's nice to be able to go back to it from time to time.
  8. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    It is an interesting read, SF.

    As is usually the case with this sort of thing, the views of some (many?) of the people who work with words for a living is awfully disturbing to me. (See: the editor, I believe it was, who put on an impassioned defense of the value of of cliches.)

    It's also telling that any thread with "Mariotti" in the title will get tons more traffic.

    Learned the hard way a long time ago that a disappointingly small number of people in the biz are truly interested in words and storytelling.
  9. 85bears

    85bears Member

    It is tough, isn't it? And I think that goes for editors, too. It seems like a lot of people in high supervisory positions don't really get interested in the important minutia of reporting and writing a story.
  10. Cal E. Fornia

    Cal E. Fornia New Member

    Couldn't agree more. One of our reporters came up with a nice story that needed to unfold, but her section editor doesn't want anything longer than 25 inches. Twenty-five inches wasn't enough for this one, so we ended up with a choppy story that lacked important details. We have to remember that steak dinners can't be stuffed into tuna cans.
  11. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Excellent links, SF. It's the sort of thing that makes me want to go back and read the ledes from my stories in the last year and see how I could have made them better, tighter, more concise, more powerful.
  12. Cosmo

    Cosmo Well-Known Member

    Well, this nugget from the second link is certainly interesting. Isn't this exactly the opposite of what the Poynter people and think-tank folks tell us?

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