posted by: Rylee Maxwell
I’ve always found this topic intriguing but have been considering it more recently while working on the Midwest Living project alongside multiple creative writing essays for the English department. Journalists and writers are two very different beings. To do both, one must be, in a sense, bilingual.
Sure, both species of writers work (and play) with words. Both must consider grammar and spelling, monitor subjects and ideas, and have mentors and coaches. But the similarities end there.
While journalism is, in itself, a form of creative writing, students wouldn’t dream of using the same style for an English class and a journalism course. Journalists learn to be concise, simple, and factual, while creative writers learn to be imaginative and detailed. Journalists pore over AP style books and recent news and writers scour thesauruses and peruse fantasy.
Even within their field, journalists have to be able to sculpt their writing style, depending on their target audience. Editing this piece for Midwest Living is a completely different process than editing the same piece for, say, Sports Illustrated.
For those who also do English writing, which style comes easier? Does your mind automatically switch into the mode you need it to be in, or do you ever find yourself writing flowery journalism and concise prose? Is your favorite mentor for writing the same for both disciplines?