Adapting Your Writing Process

EmilyDGuest blogger Emily DeVito ’14

This summer my internship threw me a lot of surprises.  Working at CBS6 Albany news station was a completely new field for me, which was good because it allowed me to explore an industry I ended up caring deeply about.  However, the biggest surprise I got was the difference between my personal writing process and the script writing process that the producers would use.  If it were not for my Professional Writing Studies (PWS) minor, I do not believe I could have made such an easy transition to a new process.

When I got into the newsroom on my very first day, it took me about twenty minutes to write a twenty-second script while it took my producer about 2 minutes.  I quickly learned that it was not just me being slow at writing that was different about the process, but it was the content I was putting in.  When we got a press release from the Albany Police Department, what I thought was important to tell the audience was not what my supervisor Aaron thought was important.  This made me really have to start utilizing the art of delivery, which I discussed a lot in my Multimedia Rhetoric class.  Aaron was delivering the information in a short and matter of fact way.  He was getting the essential information of the press release and delivering it in a creative manner.  My delivery was wordier and less creative; it was as if I was rewording the entire press release.  A few weeks of working on my delivery definitely helped speed up my writing process.  Short and sweet is always the way to go in the news world.

The next aspect of PWS that helped to change my writing process was understanding what kind of style of writing I needed to use.  With a market as big as Albany, I could not use a lot of jargon, I had to be vivid in my description if there was no video, and I had to simply state what the news was.  This was hard for me because my style of writing is more ornate and definitely never to the point.  This was one big change that I had to accomplish in my writing and even at the end of my internship I had not perfected it.  I plan to work on this news style throughout the school year with articles on CNN or CBS News.  Sometimes it is not about sounding as smart as you can with big works or a detailed descriptions that goes on forever.  People at home just want to know what happened that day in the simplest way possible.

The last part of my writing process that I had to work on to gap the difference from classroom to newsroom was the use of pathos.  Even though there is video or a voice often backing up a script to help the audience gain a feeling of emotion and vividness, sometimes words can speak louder to a viewer.  You have to make sure that the motivational appeals to listen to this particular story are still there.  This was the easiest part of adjusting my writing process because pathos is something I always try to incorporate.  I usually find that it has a much stronger effect on readers or listeners because people can relate to the piece of writing more when there is emotion involved.

By the end of my summer my writing process had definitely adjusted to include these tools when I would be given a writing task.  While my process will always be a little bit different than anyone else’s, there was still a certain outline to follow when writing scripts.  I plan to use this process at school in my upcoming classes as well as outside the classroom in the clubs I take part in such as eTalk and Elon Local News.  However, I will never lose sight of what my writing process was like before this internship.  I think it is important to have many different writing processes because you never know what a professor, internship, or job will throw at you!

This entry was posted in Outside the Classroom. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.