“More is better” has survived American culture for a reason. Less isn’t normally a better position. Less money, less fresh water, less warmth, less Oreos.
What about fewer words?
In an Inc. magazine Q&A, CEO Peter Gruber speaks about the power of storytelling.
First, he says you “absolutely have to know what your intention is….Second, you have to figure out a way to capture your listeners’ attention.”
Let’s agree that our intentions are either to inform, empower or entertain, from the world according to Schneller. Next, why don’t we give our readers the best we have in the snappiest form.
Concise journalists, please apply.
• David von Drehle suggests that the less time available to write, the shorter the sentences should be. It’s easier to become confused or miss mistakes with long-winded prose on deadline.
• MU’s own Pulitzer Prize winner, Jacqui Banaszynski, says that the stories with more power or emotion should translate to a minimalist approach in writing. Let your words only fill in the subtle background music.
• In my emerging tech class, we talk about how mobile has driven an emphasis back to content, not necessarily quality. With video, there appears to be an inversely proportional relationship to quality and immediacy.
Tsunami, earthquake, fire, crash, flash-mob? We’ll take the shakiest, grainiest footage and splash it across the nightly news. Conversely, a three-year feature film should sparkle.
“You cannot write well about something you don’t understand.”