Newsletters are a prevalent medium of communication for organisations (CQUniversity 2015). Newsom and Haynes (2005) suggest that newsletters are often ‘rated as the single most important benefit of membership in organisations.’
The newsletter I will be reviewing for this week’s inquiry exercise is Crocodile Specialist Groups (CSG) 34th issue.
The kind of stories in the newsletter include:
- Editorial: the editor speaks directly to the readers and ‘catches them up’ on latest happenings of the CSG.
- Book Review: reviewing a book titled ‘Biology and Evolution of Crocodylians’, a book that would appeal to such a specialist group.
- Journal articles; about crocodilian reproduction.
- Committee meeting minutes.
- Coverage on worldwide group meetings, with photos.
- Regional reports from all over the globe; including South America, Southeast Asia, Central Asia,
- Submissions; mostly science journals.
- Committee contact details.
These stories target the organisation’s audience by appealing to people of the same interest and using jargon (CQUniversity 2015). In addition to including special interest related content like the journal articles and scientific research included in this edition for CSG.
If I were a science journalist, I would be interested in following up on the first East and Southeast Asia Regional Crocodile Specialist Group Meeting, held in Siem Reap, Cambodia in May 2015. As it is relatively recent, a story could be written on the meetings outcome and why there hasn’t been one in that part of the world before.
What’s effective about this newsletter is how thorough the content is, if I was a member of this organisation I would be pleased with the amount and quality of the information presented. The focus to include content that is beneficial to the reader is also effective. Whitaker, Ramsey and Smith (2012) indicate that the content of effective newsletters is determined by the interest of readers and how it could benefit them.
However, the format and overall lack of design throughout the newsletter is not effective, the lack of white space and line space between content makes it hard to read and quite a chore.
This week we reflect on our first assignment ‘Writing for News’.
Correct spelling, style, and punctuation errors:
I use an application called ‘Natural Reader’ to assist in self-editing my work. It reads content out loud so you can hear it from someone else’s voice. I find this very helpful for checking flow and ABC (Accuracy, Brevity and Clarity) (Whitaker, Ramsey, Smith 2012 p. 26). It allows me to look away from the screen and listen to how the computer reads it back in order to pick up on any abrupt, suspicious sentences.
Review against the marking key checklist from the resources on Moodle
There wasn’t as many issues as I was expecting. The following concerns were pointed out:
- Apostrophes, mostly on words like today and event.
- Homophones like where and were.
- Making sure I used said correctly, correcting ‘said Smith’ to ‘Smith said’.
- Making sure indirect and direct quotes were not in the same paragraph.
- Introducing talent before their name, and paraphrasing indirect quotes
- Writing sources names after direct quote.
- Making sure my writing was concise, deleting redundant words.
Do you think you corrected them all?
No, what I have learnt from my punctuation so far is that I can edit it 100 times and still not be able to pick up on incorrect details.
Was it helpful having a checklist?
Yes, very much so. It was handy to have a list to cross-reference with ‘English for Journalists’.
Do you think it will make a difference to your overall result?
Absolutely, this course is about improving your writing, syntax, punctuation and grammar, so if you submit a poorly edited assignment, you obviously haven’t read the content of the course.
Quiz 7a. This quiz was about spelling, I felt quietly confident because my spelling is somewhat ok. Although looking at my results, apparently not, I received a 7/10 in my first attempt.
The questions I got wrong were about homophones, and the correct use of ‘Principle’ or ‘Principal’. The last question I got wrong was a true or false question about misspelled words being confused.
I read the passage in the textbook and thought I read it as ‘words are often misspelled because they are confused with a shorter one that sounds the same.’
I thought I would be improving in my quiz results by now, but I seem to keep getting the same results. 7-8/10. Something I’m finding quite frustrating.
Quiz 7b. I found the chapter very interesting, it was about writing style, namely suitability, simplicity, precision, and poise being the principals of style.
I interestingly got 9/10, and the one question I got wrong, I carelessly left blank.
After seeing what it was I was annoyed because I knew the answer. Which meant I would have got 100%, for the first time in weeks.
CQUniversity 2015, COMM11007 Media Writing: Week 7 Newsletters and brochures, viewed 29 August 2015, https://moodle.cqu.edu.au/pluginfile.php/149416/mod_resource/content/2/2.%20COMM11007%20Week%207%20Lesson.pdf
Crocodile Specialist Group 2015, Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter, vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 1-44, viewed 29 August 2015, http://www.iucncsg.org/365_docs/attachments/protarea/34(2-a5b9578f.pdf
Newsom, D & Hayes, J 2005, Public relations writing: form & style, 7th edn., Thomson Learning, Belmont, CA.
Whitaker, R, Ramsey, J & Smith, R 2012, Media writing: print broadcast and public relations, 4th edn, Routledge, New York.