Monday, March 5, 2012

On Reading Lillian Ross

By Michele Beach

          Before reading Lillian Ross’s writer’s rules of reporting, I had a very narrow perspective on how journalists did their job.  I learned that even though journalist articles are based on facts and observations, there are still a lot of thoughts and feelings that make a story.  Ross made an excellent point that really captured my attention by saying “thoughts and opinions and feelings, including those of a reporter, should be demonstrated in the reporting of quotes and actions.”  This quote conveys the theme for her piece on the rules of reporting.  By emphasizing the need for quotes to show feelings of a story, it brings light to the importance of this element in journalism. 
           Ross has a unique style of writing; in her essay her voice really comes through because of her simple, yet meaningful phrases.  Writing simply is also one of her working guidelines, which I find to be quite straightforward.  Even though this may not be a concept a reader might think about when browsing an article, for a journalist it is a key concept in writing in order to keep the piece readable and relatable, which is how I feel about Ross’s writing.  Lillian Ross stresses the use of judgment and common sense when writing pieces.  For a reporter these elements are crucial, and I am now aware of how to use these tools properly. 
          Above all, the use of listening is an element that must take priority in order to remember not only the words and phrases, but the direct context in which it is used.  Hearing is something we all do every day; as a journalist and reporter one must stretch beyond those abilities in order to capture a successful story.  I like the idea of thinking visually, as she does when writing a journalism piece; by putting stores together as a beginning, middle and end, the story because concise and fluent.

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