Reading is Seeing

After reading the Harrower chapter on the basics of reporting, I was slightly confused.  I am a very visual writer, and when writing hard news stories for internships in the past, I have been told to take some of my descriptiveness out of the article.  However, Harrower focused on the fact that reporters should make people “see” the stories rather than just hear or read them.  His promotion of the descriptiveness that I had previously thought was taboo was very interesting to me, but I think I have figured out where I have made my mistakes in the past.

The first “hard news” article that I ever wrote was for a national debate magazine, and I needed to rewrite the piece several times before I was told it was acceptable as a news piece.  I had added quite a bit of unnecessary detail, and told the event more like a story than an event.  In this case, description is unnecessary because there is nothing to visualize.  These are “just-the-facts-please” articles, whereas the pieces that Harrower mentioned are stories like fires—occurrences that people want to be able to visualize when they are reading about them.  I am relieved to know that the imagery that I have tried so hard to develop is not lost in the world of journalism, and that I would still have a sense of creative license in the newsroom.


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