Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bob's 10 Tips For Column Writing

Following up on what I wrote the past couple of days, I have my own tips for writing sports columns -- advice that can be applied to columns in general and journalism in general.

Since these are my own tips, I'm not going to comment specifically on each one. I've tried to offer advice that isn't exactly the same as what Red Smith or Mark Purdy gave, but there are some similarities.

1. Avoid stating the obvious or there's no point to your writing.

2. Don’t write something simply to see how many people will read or react to it.

3. Challenge your readers but don’t insult them.

4. Get to the point. Be careful not to go into long rants.

5. You want your sources to think of you as a friend, not just a name and number. But remember that friends don’t expect you to just do whatever they want you to do.

6. If you don’t know how to explain something, then talk to somebody who does — and not simply somebody who will tell you what you want to hear.

7. Issues may be complex but that doesn’t mean you have to make them complicated. It is possible to discuss an issue in which many details are involved, but to explain those details so the average person can understand them.

8. Remember that doing research means looking at material that may go against what you believe as much as looking at what supports your beliefs.

9. Avoid superlatives, exaggerations and over-the-top statements. You don’t want your writing to sound like the ramblings of a bad sports commentator.

10. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box — but make sure you present information that backs up your ideas.

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