Some of you, hearing me talk to you so urgently about the need to write plain English, perhaps found yourself thinking: “That’s so yesterday. Journalism has gone digital, and I’ve come to Columbia to learn the new electronic media. I no longer need to write well.” I think you need to write even more clearly and simply for the new media than for the old media. You’ll be making and editing videos and photographs and audio recordings to accompany your articles. Somebody—that’s you—will still have to write all those video scripts and audio scripts, and your writing will need to be lean and tight and coherent: plain nouns and verbs pushing your story forward so that the rest of us always know what’s happening. This principle applies—and will apply—to every digital format; nobody wants to consult a Web site that isn’t instantly clear. Clarity, brevity, and sequential order will be crucial to your success.Quite right, and it's important to remember. Writing well is hard work, but it is always important—perhaps especially when the temptations not to are so great.
HT: Mike Pohlman at TGC