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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sense of Style

Ross pays his fortnightly visit, this time looking at the significance of writing style in editorial. 

My decreed blogging objective is to give readers an insight into life at TARGETjobs. Although this establishes some parameters i.e. subject matter (for example, I wouldn’t be allowed to write exclusively about my favourite bridges in Sweden), it does supply some freedom: I may mention the ├śresund Bridge, but I should do so in the context of my life as an intern at TARGETjobs; I don’t need to be too specific, as my remit is pretty broad; and I have relative liberty when it comes to writing style. It is this final element that I wish to discuss.

Writing style is something that’s pretty important in editorial and has been highlighted throughout my six weeks at TARGETjobs. In my application for this position, I linked a piece from my personal blog, which turned out to be quite a successful move as despite my lack of journalism degree / experience, I showed that I could write fairly legibly. In tapping out a blog I demonstrated a degree of writing ability (surely the least anyone could hope for after years at university, unless of course the degree focus was sandcastle deconstruction) alongside a modicum of commitment to the pen.

It was emphasised however that my writing style was slightly academic and would require some adaptation for TARGETjobs purposes: the tone throughout our (yes, I am now a man - or balding boy - of the company) publications is intended to be balanced, supportive advice; an online news piece requires shorter, snappier sentences; and a blog entry can adopt a chattier, ‘informal-er’ (though perhaps not that informal)  tone, but with no outright disregard for professionalism.  

Throughout TARGETjobs publications emphasis is placed on ‘plain English’. This doesn’t mean that word choice and sentence structure are simplified in order to ‘dumb down’, merely that a message should be communicated in the clearest and most concise way possible without detracting from the meaning.

I was initially quite apprehensive when it was intimated that I’d need to consistently alter my writing style: ‘what if I end up writing in a mundane, formulaic manner instead of writing poncey nonsense?’ I thought. I discarded this notion and became quite excited to think that as an aspiring writer (well, this week) I could have a few writing hats as opposed to just a top hat. I was also reassured by the advice that, although writing styles can differ, it is possible to maintain a ‘voice’ across the board; this is quite encouraging, particularly if you love the sound of your own voice…

On that note, here is a link to my personal blog: