Friday, June 16, 2006

Globe-trotting

Yesterday, I took a trip to the southside of Beantown. I was at The Boston Globe for a morning newspaper critique session, sponsored by the New England Society of Newspaper Editors. I joined the "writing" table with a handful of other copy editors and longtime newspaper people, from the The Keene (N.H.) Sentinel, Foster's Daily Democrat of Dover, N.H., among others.

And, like the bad blogger that I am, I forgot to bring my camera. Oops.

If you haven't been to the Globe (I hadn't) I can assure you the place is huge. That's huge as in mega-mall huge: Escalators, a cafeteria, and cubicles as far the eye can see. Hell, they even had a department labeled "Ideas."

Back at the table we talked about, you guessed it, writing. The Stowe Reporter's critic was Len Levin, a former longtime copy editor at the Providence (R.I.) Journal who's now at the Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Mass.

I didn't get the kind of hard-nosed criticism I had hoped for, but I got a few good suggestions here and there. Much of Levin's advice echoed that of William K. Zinsser, the author the classic "On Writing Well." Zinsser's thesis: "...the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word..."

Amen.

9 Comments:

Blogger Suburbanista said...

So, that's your excuse for light bloggging, eh? Minimalism? We don't buy that.

Reminds me of an editor and several dozen art directors:

" I need more copy, more photos, and dammit... MORE WHITE SPACE!!

Pick two.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Scott Monroe said...

Ha! I have no excuse for light blogging, although scapegoating minimalism seems snooty enough.

I think I'm still trying to figure out what I should blog about as a reporter. Any suggestions?

11:01 AM  
Blogger cresmer said...

Hey, I like the picture! And I love On Writing Well. One of my favorites.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Scott Monroe said...

Cool. Thanks Cathy!

12:56 PM  
Blogger Suburbanista said...

Heh, there is a bit of snootalism in the reference. Unitended of course.

As for your request for suggestions, the interaction depends on you. As a wrtier, write.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Scott Monroe said...

Suburbanista,

Fair enough. But part of what a news blog should be, I think, is soliciting suggestions from its readers. The premise being that the reader knows more than I do.

12:03 PM  
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