<%response.buffer=true%> <% yere = year(date()) Response.Expires = 0 %> Intro: Writing For The Web
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Sample Writing Articles

"It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous." Peter Benchley, Author of 'Jaws'

Editing Articles: Below are some sample articles on which to practice our 'honing' skills in class. Each one is vaguely related to some aspect of writing.

Tips From Microsoft Word: We will drop the text of these articles into MS Word, and activate the "Grammar" features to get feedback on the articles.

Click:

TOOLS >> OPTIONS >> SPELLING & GRAMMAR

Select:

  • ALWAYS SUGGEST CORRECTIONS
  • SHOW READABILITY STATISTICS

Under WRITING STYLE choose GRAMMAR & STYLE

Then click OK

Now we can get a "second opinion" on regarding our paragraph and sentence structure!


Bulletins
Intended for posting on a bulletin board, bulletins contain quickly digestible information appropriate to the needs of people standing up, sipping coffee or chewing on a snack. In just one or two pages, they must pack in as much what, when, where and, maybe, who as possible, but should ignore how and, definitely, why. The content must be limited in scope to items that have direct, practical meaning to the actual readers, who should be closely related (members of the same club, employees of the same company, etc.). The writing style is concise and fact-oriented.

For example, when we publish the San Jose State Alumni Association Bulletin, we include announcements from chapters, an events calendar and major alumni-related news from the school.


Newsletters
Real newsletters not only add why to the mix of what, who, when and where, but give it top billing as well. As a result, a minimum of four pages is required and medium-length articles with a why angle are given the most prominent positioning. "Fundraiser at 8 p.m. in the gym" doesn't cut it in a newsletter. "Fundraiser for new gym floor mats" is a more appropriate start of a newsletter article.

Newsletter content should educate an audience with similar interests on a very specific range of news topics -- the organization's new service, upcoming event or competitive advantages. Developments in the organization's industry are OK when they are relevant, but newsletter editors must guard against including information that readers can find more easily and better in other publications.

Except for brief tips or Q&A, newsletters should shy away from how. For example, articles such as this one cannot replace the information available in a workshop or from actual experience. Newsletters should get readers to think and to act, not attempt to completely satisfy their information needs.

The best newsletters use a serious, newsy, journalistic writing style overall, mixed with some humorous, folksy and/or opinionated content. They came to be called "newsletters" because they mix the best of both worlds -- the value of "news" with the friendliness of a "letter."


Journals

Journals are published for sophisticated audiences who want very specific details -- mostly how and, when appropriate, why -- on closely related topics. Long articles that explain their topic using very specific facts and terminology dominate the content in a journal. However, the topic needs a limited enough scope to be explained in an article. For example, "how to train customer service personnel to be more courteous" is an article. "A complete guide to customer service" is a book.

Because of the size of their articles, journals tend to have covers that function as graphically elaborate advertisements for the content (some include the full table of contents) and normally fill between 16 and 96 pages. Like newsletters, journals should contain a variety of writing styles and article lengths. For example, a 48-page quarterly we produce for Xilinx is called a journal because of its 20+ pages of "design tips and hints," but the other material provides a lot of valuable information as well (without discussing how, just why, what, etc.).

Journal writing should follow the golden rule of journalism -- get the point of the story into the headline and the lead paragraph -- but can follow that with a discussion of the topic organized logically or thematically rather than chronologically or in order of news value.


Flesch Score (Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level)
The Flesch scores (Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level and Flesch Reading Ease) are based on the average number of syllables per word and words per sentence.

The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score rates text based on the U.S. high school grade level system (i.e. a score of 7.0 would mean a 7th grader should be able to comprehend the text).

The Flesch Reading Ease score is based on a 100 point scale; the higher the score, the easier it is to comprehend.


Sample Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level


(.39 x ASL) + (11.8 x ASW) – 15.59


Flesch Reading Ease


206.835 – (1.015 x ASL) – (84.6 x ASW)


ASL: average sentence length (number of words divided by the number of sentences)


ASW: average number of syllables per word (number of syllables divided by number of words)

   
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