Focus essential to all writing

By Rylee Maxwell

Focused writing is important in every area of journalism, not just those involving articles and fact-based stories. Writers in every field have to remember what they are trying to accomplish and keep their focus on that goal.

The top Super Bowl ads had obvious intentions. They pulled at the heartstrings of Americans nationwide. They were able to accomplish this mainly because they were well written — they told stories. The poor ones, like Beck’s Sapphire “Serenade,” however, did no such thing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJoiCP2Wnpw

So, what was Beck’s’ message? No idea.

One could argue that it caused viewers to contemplate the evolution of hip-hop music from the 1990s until now, for one. It certainly showcased the product. It introduced a pretty, black, singing CGI goldfish.

Quite possibly, the idea was playing off of the “smooth” quality of both the product and the song, but that is just an assumption. The only thing we can be sure of is that the ad itself was relatively pretty, but pretty doesn’t ‘sell’ an ad. And fish can’t sing.

The same questions that writers and editors ask about articles — “What is this piece about?” “What do I want my reader to take away from this?” “Will this catch and keep attention?” “Why is this important?” etc. — are the same questions that writers of any material should ask.

Because whether it’s a news article, an advertisement, a cover letter, a short story or a pick-up line, it has a purpose. And if you want it to serve its purpose, that purpose better be clear.

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2 responses to “Focus essential to all writing

  1. Although the article is about an advertisement you raise a valid point about having a clear and concise message. Because when you don’t you are leaving the audience to freely interpret what you are trying to communicate. And unless your message is an abstract piece of art regardless of what form of journalism it is, your message should be clear.

  2. Being an ads major, I wanted to make the connection between what we discuss in class and my area of study. Because you’re exactly right-the message needs to be clear no matter what form you are using.

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