Writing 2.0

11

Many organizations rely on good writers. Every job I’ve had has taught me new and better ways to write. The BBC taught me to write short, punchy blurbs. The Kravis Leadership institute taught me how to summarize jargon-ridden journal articles. The civil rights law firm where I worked wanted summaries, indexes, and chronologies based on evidence. Writing for others has been a daily part of my life and I know the best styles needed to reach the right audience.

As a paralegal in a civil rights firm, it was my responsibility to create narratives that described the events in a case. A narrative isn’t merely a chronology of events, but a careful selection of evidence to support our argument and point out weaknesses in our cases. These researched briefs demand accuracy and had to be clear for both attorneys and general readers.

My most challenging research and writing projects were at the BBC and independent television production companies. For a documentary on the origins of WWI, I scanned early 20th century newspapers to compile character portraits of European leaders. Competition for attention is fierce online, so I get to the point when writing for the web. A strict BBC editor taught me to pull specific information from a din of words and write succinctly.  I wrote over 100, 80-word blurbs about the UK democratic process for the BBC’s first volunteering social network.