August 12, 2007

Tweaks -- Revised and revisited

A few years ago a number of journalists up and down the East Coast put together a daily collection of quotes on writing called TWEAKS. It was run out of Penn State and was always a joy to read.

Turns out I saved just about all those e-mails. (Let's hear it for sloppy e-mail management!)

Here are a couple of gem,s from just a quick review of the hundreds of offerings:

  • I would say to a student, "You have to love the language. You've got to read, because if you don't read, you can't write, because you don't know anything to write about." Any kid who tells me, "I'm studying journalism" and then tells me "I don't have time to read the newspaper before I go to class every morning" is somebody I don't figure is going to be much of a journalist. You have to get the facts about what's going on in your life, in your town, your nation, around you and that is my priority.
    -- Carl Rowan
  • Always grab the reader by the throat in the first paragraph, sink your thumbs into his windpipe in the second, and hold him against the wall until the tag line.
    -- Paul O'Neil
  • Be clear. This is the first and greatest commandment. In a large sense, nothing else matters. For clarity embraceth all things; the clear thought to begin with, the right words for conveying that thought, the orderly arrangement of the words. It is a fine thing, now and then, to be colorful, to be vivid, to be bold. First be clear.
    -- James J. Kilpatrick

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