Friday, 24 February 2012

14. If you start a story with a person’s home town (ie. A CARDIFF wo/man...) you have the wrong intro.

If you are writing for the local or even a regional newspaper you would rather hope - as would most of your readers - that it might actually contain local news.

So you could, in theory at least, start every story with the person's place of origin along with their sex. Almost. Every. Story.

(Mind you an intro starting: A CARDIFF hermaphrodite... might work).

Now I'm told there's all this stuff about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and that's why it is done. But reading a newspaper and reading online are two - very different - things (Hell! do you think I'd be writing like this if I was writing a book?)

People who read newspapers we must (oh please we must) presume enjoy reading...and believe it or not but they do notice - and they do notice good writing.

And given the staffing levels of local newspapers these days - your writing does make a difference...a big difference (and getting bigger every year).

However it is perfectly acceptable if say a story happens outside your immediate patch for example:

A CARDIFF holidaymaker told last night how they narrowly avoided being blown up by terrorists in Thailand.

Lots of geography but it can't be helped. Note also I've avoided mentioning the person's sex - so if you must say where the person is from at least try and be more descriptive in who or what they are.

Unlike this example...can someone tell me where they think the action is taking place:

A parish council has slammed Norfolk County Council for ignoring their objections to a thermal waste treatment plant near a Norfolk village and voiced concerns the plant could be used for incineration.

But where is the parish council? Perhaps it is in Norfolk but they don't say. Fortunately they also manage to get the words council and plant as well as the county name in twice. Lovely.

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