A MESSAGE FOR JOURNALISTS
My most important message is the Love of Language;
You cannot be a truly great journalist without having a deep love of language, written or spoken.
You must understand the meaning and flow of words and take delight in using them. The difference
between an ordinary news story and a great one is often not just the facts you include, but the way
in which you tell those facts.
Journalists often have an important role in developing the language of a country, especially in
countries which do not have a long history of written language. This places a special responsibility
on you, because you may be setting the standards of language use in your country for future
If you love language, you will take care of it and protect it from harm. You will not abuse grammar,
you will always check spellings you are not sure of, and you will take every opportunity to develop
The news story - the basic building block of journalism - requires a simple, uncomplicated writing
style. This need for simplicity can frustrate new journalists, even though it is often more challenging
to write simply than to be wordy. Once you have mastered the basic news story format, you can
venture beyond its limits and start to develop a style of your own.
Do not be discouraged by a slow start. If you grow with your language you will love it all the more.
About the inelegancy of those people I like to say:
People trust journalists with facts, either the ones they give or the ones they receive. You must not
be careless with them. All journalists must aim for accuracy. Without it you will lose trust, readers
and ultimately your job.
The best way of ensuring accuracy is to develop a system of ordering facts in your mind. You should
always have a notebook handy to record facts and comments, but your mind is the main tool. Keep
You should also keep it alert. Never stop thinking - and use your imagination. This is not to...