If you’re called upon to write an online article, a news item, or a discussion piece, follow these 17 guidelines for readability and impact. This 4-minute read will make you a better online writer.
Lots of people consider the news industry cynical and committed to pandering to the lowest common intellectual denominator. But few have noticed the curious irony that lies at the very core of the news paradigm. This irony may offer a better explanation of why the news is the way it is than any speculations about the ethics and motives of the news producers.
The curious irony is that, in this so-called Third-Wave age of information, as futurist Alvin Toffler named it, the commercial news process is actually imprisoned in a Second-Wave model, i.e. an industrial model of news production.
Unless you’ve chosen to live a life isolated from the rest of society, you probably experience the national conversation every day, during much of your waking time. Your conversations with your family; your significant other; your neighbors; your close friends; your colleagues, co-workers, or fellow students; your casual acquaintances; the people in the shops you patronize—all influence the way you think about the Republic that you co-own and co-inhabit.
In addition to our own personal microcosm of relationships, we modern citizens live our lives deeply and unavoidably embedded in an information environment. Let’s pause for a moment to think about this all-pervasive field of ideas and influences. What can we observe about the never-ending tide of messages swirling around us? How does it affect us? And, do we have the power—and the means—to influence it?