English for Journalists by Wynford Hicks

By Wynford Hicks

English for reporters is a useful advisor not just to the fundamentals of English, yet to these elements of writing, akin to reporting speech, residence sort and jargon that are particular to the language of journalism. This revised and up to date version features a dialogue of the new debates surrounding using normal English, the right kind use and spelling of standard international phrases, a bankruptcy on broadcast journalism via Harriet Gilbert and an up-to-date word list.

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I myself founded the "Eye-Witness" in the same chapter of ideas (by which I do not mean at all with similar objects of propaganda). Ireland has produced more than one organ of the sort, Scotland one or two. Their number will increase. With this I pass from the just denunciation of evil to the exposition of what is good. I propose to examine the nature of that movement which I call "The Free Press," to analyse the disabilities under which it suffers, and to conclude with my conviction that it is, in spite of its disabilities, not only a growing force, but a salutary one, and, in a certain measure, a conquering one.

So far, we see the growth of the Press marked by these characteristics. (1) It falls into the hands of a very few rich men, and nearly always of men of base origin and capacities. (2) It is, in their hands, a mere commercial enterprise. (3) It is economically supported by advertisers who can in part control it, but these are of the same Capitalist kind, in motive and manner, with the owners of the papers. Their power does not, therefore, clash in the main with that of the owners, but the fact that advertisement makes a paper, has created a standard of printing and paper such that no one—save at a disastrous loss—can issue regularly to large numbers news and opinion which the large Capitalist advertisers disapprove.

That metaphor is false, because upon a stage the audience knows that it is all play-acting, and actually sees the figures. Let any man of reasonable competence soberly and simply describe the scene in the House of Commons when some one of the ordinary professional politicians is speaking. It would not be an exciting description. The truth here would not be a violent or dangerous truth. Let him but write soberly and with truth. Let him write it as private letters are daily written in dozens about such folk, or as private conversation runs among those who know them, and who have no reason to exaggerate their importance, but see them as they are.

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