Writing

Each day, Poynter's News University will share a tip, a suggestion or idea to help your reporting, writing, editing, photography, design, and multimedia work better. We'll draw tips from our more than 150 training modules. Follow us on Twitter with our #nutip hashtag. Or subscribe to our RSS feed.

  • #635
    When writing, dig for the concrete and specific, such as the name of the dog. Novelist Joseph Conrad once described his task this way: "By the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel — it is, before all, to make you see."
    Sep 25, 2013
    Writing
  • #613
    Use verbs in their strongest form, the simple present or past. Strong verbs create action, save words and reveal the players.
    Mar 26, 2013
    Writing
  • #608
    Count the number of words in your lead and see how many can be eliminated. Practice on a previously published lead.
    Mar 25, 2013
    The Lead Lab
    Writing
  • #606
    Begin sentences with subjects and verbs, letting subordinate elements branch to the right. Even a long, long sentence can be clear and powerful when the subject and verb make meaning early.
    Feb 27, 2013
    Writing
  • #597
    Avoid numbers soup. Use no more than two or three numbers in a paragraph and have no more than one or two paragraphs in a row that contain numbers.
    Feb 27, 2013
    Math, Reporting, Writing
  • #592
    To tell a dramatic story, look for the obstacles confronting the main character. Write scenes that describe his or her reactions.
    Oct 12, 2012
    Reporting, Writing
  • #589
    You can achieve a specific tone in writing when you "slow down” the pace with shorter sentences.
    Oct 09, 2012
    Writing
  • #586
    For dramatic impact, start your story in the middle of an action scene. Write about how your main character changes over the course of your story.
    Oct 04, 2012
    Reporting, Writing
  • #583
    Replace scientific jargon with words and images that will interest your audience, from nouns to verbs. And use examples that readers can relate to.
    Aug 31, 2012
    Science, Writing
  • #581
    The most powerful way to test your writing voice is to read your work out loud.
    Aug 27, 2012
    Writing