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As the pandemic progresses with no end in sight, the goal for journalists and all public writers should be to lead the reader toward understanding.
As the pandemic progresses, with no end in sight, the goal for journalists and all public writers remains more urgent than ever: to achieve civic clarity, that effect that leads the reader toward the light of understanding.
Accuracy is job number one. Clarity is job number two. There is a job number three: You’ve got to find a way to make it interesting. Your report may be accurate, it may be clear, but, like a vaccine no one takes, if it does not move readers to thought or action, it’s like a medical mask worn hanging from one ear.
We can leave accuracy and interestingness for another day. For now, I want to return to familiar ground, a set of strategies that lead to comprehensibility, that inspire the writer to take responsibility for what readers know and understand.
I’ve written several versions of these strategies over the years under the banner of “Making hard facts easy reading.” But I believe this is the first time I am framing them as questions.
These are questions that the editor or teacher can ask the writer. More important, they are questions that writers can ask themselves to solve problems and do their duty.
1. How would I explain this to a smart person that I know — who is NOT an expert?
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2020/20-questions-toward-achieving-civic-clarity-in-your-writing/