Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Writers at Work: News and Feature Styles

By Nicolette Danzy

Reading about Lillian Ross (of The New Yorker) and Ross Markman (of the Havre Daily News), I can see two different approaches to journalistic style writing. The writing style tips that Markman gives compared to Lillian Ross are also completely different. What matters most to him is getting many different stories done in a short period time, while Lillian Ross feels having a good story that you really connect with is most important.

While Ross works for a big magazine and is a more noticed and experienced writer, Markman works for a smaller circulation newspaper. The stories he gets compared to Lillian Ross are smaller and have no connection to him. They are mostly on city government type of issues. He is more of an informational writer, while Ross is more a feature story writer. Her stories are more narrative in a way.  One clear difference between the two writers is that Ross has more passion for what she is writing about and Markman has more passion for writing several stories. Lillian Ross cares about quality and Markman cares about quantity.

Markman’s tips are mostly for learning how to get your work done in a timely matter. He doesn’t really speak on his quality of work. He believes that research and a first draft are part of the necessary steps to being a successful writer. While Markman has good tips on how to write on deadline, I like Lillian Ross’s approach to writing more than his. He doesn’t seem like he writes for the enjoyment of the subject that he is writing about. Lillian Ross’ passion for what she writes about is what makes her guidelines more useful. She believes in the connection between the writer, the topic, and the person being interviewed. You can’t see that in Ross Markman’s approach.

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