Manoush Zomorodi is a freelance reporter, moderator, and media consultant. Her multimedia ebook CAMERA READY: How to Present Your Best Self and Ideas On Air or Online is the definitive manual for anyone appearing on camera, and will be released on Tuesday, June 12.
From 1995-2006 Manoush reported and produced for BBC News, with postings in Washington, Berlin, Brussels, and New York. As a freelance reporter and anchor, she covered business and technology for Reuters Television in New York from 2006-2010. She is a media trainer and is piloting a new public radio show about how innovation is changing New York. Follow her @manoushz.
Ashley Milne-Tyte is a New York-based writer and reporter. Ashley produces radio pieces for Marketplace, NPR, and Voice of America, writes for print/online and teaches radio boot camp at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
1. Write about what you care about. To some extent, any writing is good practice, but you should write on your passions. Life is too short to be writing on China if that’s not what gets you going.
2. Know who you’re writing for. Reading this piece, I wasn’t clear. It’s nicely turned in places but what is it trying to do? Entertain? Great, then entertain who?
3. Avoid rococo writing. Foreign words, adjectives, adverbs and cute metaphors should be used sparingly. Cliches never at all. It’s hard to be breezy and persuasive at the same time.
4. You should be able to summarise your argument in one sentence. If not, there’s something wrong.
5. Start small. Practice writing “perfect” sentences. Sentences should comprise a complete thought; no more, no less. Then move on to paragraphs, and so on. This is not meant to patronising: it’s where most creative writing classes start.
Finally: Read Orwell on Politics and the English language, Strunk & White on style, and everything by Waugh and Fitzgerald. And write. A lot. Don’t give up.