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Practical Newspaper Reporting, 3rd Edition by Geoffrey Harris, David Spark

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7 NEWSPAPER LANGUAGE

Newspaper reports need to be understood by people from a wide variety of educational backgrounds and cultures. This means that long, involved sentences full of clauses are not helpful. Newspaper English needs to be simple and straightforward, the sort of English a busy person would prefer.

Use active verbs, not passives: ‘he sang a song’ not ‘a song was sung by him’, ‘some people feel’ not ‘it is felt that…’ Wherever possible, use simple tenses rather than ‘will have been’, ‘would have been’ and ‘might have been’. Never start a sentence with a long clause.

Do not be content with abstract phrases: try to give concrete examples. This is why it is important when dealing with handouts and official reports to seize on any examples ...

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