This week we focused mainly on the journalistic area of the course and the skills we practiced were word choice, tone, style and voice, effective questions and attention grabbing headlines.
To practice the skill of word choice, in lesson we were tasked to search for some well-known and well used cliché phrases, and then change the wordings of them to make them uniquely different to the originals.
“as good as gold” became: “as efficient as wind turbines”
“like a deer in headlights” became: “startled like a frightened horse”
To rewrite these clichés I decided on attempting to find words that could be associated with the saying but were not because they had not caught on. For example, a “deer in headlights” is as it is because it is well-known for deer to get scared easily, but horses are also very easily startled, so I figured that it would be fitting, and would make sense. I think that my rewritten cliches are fairly good although I would improve my word choice by trying an exercise like this again, so that it will widen my vocabulary and help me to seriously explore my own style of writing.
Another way we practiced the skill of word choice was by designing a web page and then using the language that would be used on a similar professional website and ensuring it would be suitable for the audience the site would receive. My site design was:
I chose to design my page with basic colours because I feel as though when I go onto a webpage and the colours are very bright and in my face I don’t like it and I usually would leave said site. I thought that if I used basic colours with a basic layout that was easy to get around, then the site would be more appealing to the audience.
The professional example of a copy like my own is Briar Copywriting’s copy for Imaginative Traveller.
The difference between my copy and Briar’s copy is that Briar’s looks professional and clean-cut. The Briar copy is attractive and engaging, whilst still following the theme of the entire website.
To improve on this I could play around and design some other pages and focus on making them look more professional and attention-drawing.
Tone, Style and Voice:
Style in writing is the way that something is written instead of the meaning of what is written. Tone is the attitude of a piece of writing; it should be appropriate to the audience and the purpose. The voice in writing is the format in which writers tell their stories. We put this skill to practice by writing a copy for the print and journalism course at Canterbury College (selling the course).
WHAT IS THIS COURSE?
Do you want to delve into a world of independence and creativity? This two-year long course is for any young creative writer with aspirations of working in the media industry. After completing year one of the course you will receive a diploma in Print and Journalism, and then an extended diploma at the end of year two.
Throughout the entirety of this course you will cover; research, problem solving, marketing, and then a final major project.
WHY SHOULD YOU JOIN THE CANTERBURY COLLEGE MEDIA DEPARTMENT?
The atmosphere of the Canterbury College media department is a stimulating location with supportive staff willing to help any time that they are available. If you want an enjoyable place to learn more about yourself as a writer, Canterbury College is the place for you!
The piece above is my own written copy to sell the course that I am currently taking. I think that my word choice in this written piece allowed me to explore my own writing style and the professional example of a copy I am going to use is Briar Copywriting’s copy for BT.
Briar’s copy for BT is simple yet effective, and completely captures the tone, voice and style of usual BT layouts. The writing of the copy is accurately aimed towards the BT Customers audience, and easily hits the mark.
To improve on my use of tone, style and voice, I think I will focus on the audience that will be seeing my work and pinpoint how it would be best to make my writing appealing to that audience.
This week to explore the skill of effective questions we went out into the streets of Canterbury and carried out vox pops which entailed in going and asking people in the street to answer a question about discrimination.
One of the answers I received from the vox pops was:
“What is your opinion on how people in the LGBT+ community are treated?”
“It’s appalling really, because obviously it’s become more well-known recently and sort of, more people are accepting of it, but they’re still treated as if they’re not human and it is pretty disgusting to be honest. I think they should be treated more human. I believe in gay rights but I don’t think it should be a thing, like everyone should just have the same rights, it shouldn’t be specified through sexual orientation, so I think definitely, not romanticising or glorifying it, but showing people that it’s not a bad thing, because there’s so much religion and things going on and religiously it is forced upon people so I feel like showing it is not a bad thing, it’s human and more projection of that is better.”
The vox pop was effective in practising this skill because it not only gave me confidence when talking to people I do not know, but it also gave me the opportunity to gather the opinions of other people – people that I have never met, and are not in any way influenced by something I might believe in.
A professional example of vox pops would be the BBC’s Vox Pop from three years ago.
The BBC vox pop is more professional as they not only video recorded, but also had better audio recording equipment. They also used unbiased questions like I had done in my own vox pop.
To improve on my experience with vox pops I will ensure that all questions I produce are unbiased and I will ensure that I have the confidence I need to ask strangers to answer some questions for me in the street.
Attention grabbing headlines
A way in which we exercised the skill of attention grabbing headlines was by using an engaging headline in our piece of work that we completed on selling the course we are taking. We were tasked to do a copy based on selling the print and journalism course, and to make it interesting, an attention grabbing headline was needed. My headline was:
“MORE IN MEDIA”
This headline was not very difficult to come up with, as it is very basic, but I found that it sounded quite effective, and I personally felt that it did the job I wanted it to do.
A professional example of an attention grabbing headline is:
I think that what makes a headline attention grabbing is the concision of it. If a headline is short and snappy but also roughly tells you what you’re about to read then it has done its job perfectly, especially if the headline drew you in, in the first place.
To improve on my headline writing skills I will be sure to spend a little longer thinking of a way to summarise my piece of writing in two or three words that are engaging and exciting and are likely to make the audience read the article.
- Wheaton College (2009) Style, Diction, Tone and Voice. Available at: http://www.wheaton.edu/Academics/Services/Writing-Center/Writing-Resources/Style-Diction-Tone-and-Voice (Accessed: 5 October 2016)
- Literary Devices (2016) Voice. Available at: http://literarydevices.net/voice/ (Accessed: 5 October 2016)
- Briar Copywriting (2014) BT – Briar Copywriting. Available at: http://www.briarcopywriting.com/portfolio_item/bt/ (Accessed: 5 October 2016)
- Briar Copywriting (2014) Imaginative Traveller – Briar Copywriting. Available at: http://www.briarcopywriting.com/portfolio_item/imaginative-traveller/ (Accessed: 8 October 2016)
- Mick Fealty (2013) BBC Newsline Vox Pop on Flags. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlstC4R-5gc (Accessed: 8 October 2016)