By AMANDA WOODS
As I sat at my computer hammering out a paper for my Contemporary Literature class, I came to a realization.
I have to go back and fix my lead, I thought to myself. The rest of the paper really doesn’t support it well.
Of course, by my “lead,” I meant the introductory paragraph, but I was in a journalistic frame of mind. Subconsciously, I probably thought I was writing an article.
I didn’t realize how blurred the worlds of journalistic and English paper writing had become for me until a Spectrum staff writer and fellow English major came to me for advice on the subject.
“The editors told me my article was too descriptive and not objective enough,” the writer told me. “I’m used to writing like this in my English classes, so I’m having trouble changing my style.”
I advised the writer to avoid flowery language, and to keep adjectives and adverbs to a minimum in news writing. I told her to always leave her opinion out of a news article. I also discussed some stylistic elements, namely the shorter paragraph length in news articles.
As I spoke to this beginning writer, I felt like I was giving myself advice as well. Countless times, I’ve resisted the urge to hit the “enter” key in a research paper after typing two sentences. In many of my Spectrum articles, I battle with the desire to include adjectives or to voice my opinion on an issue.
This weekend, I had to refresh myself on MLA style techniques, because AP style was at the fore of my mind. I grumbled to myself, thinking, why do I have to know how to write like this? What is a paper for an English class going to do for me if I know I want to report news for the rest of my life?
Truth be told, my English paper writing can help me to develop my journalistic skills. The more I practice my writing, whether it is for an article, a research paper, or a blog, the stronger a writer I will become. My English papers enable me to develop the inquisitive, analytic mindset journalists need.
With practice, one day I’ll be able to effortlessly transition between my journalistic and academic voices. I can only hope that my mastery of two distinct writing styles will make me an asset in the job market.