Arkema issues confused, self-serving statements as its chemical plant explodes

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Yesterday, Rich Rowe, CEO of Arkema, warned that his chemical plant near Houston might explode. Today it exploded. When you know something like this is going to happen, you need to get right to the point. Rich Rowe didn’t. The Arkema plant is in Crosby, Texas, about 25 miles from downtown Houston. Houston, of course, … Continued

What business writers can learn from journalists — and what they can’t

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Should business writers write like journalists? Some journalist habits — like never burying the lede — make perfect sense. But if you imagine you’re Woodward and Bernstein, you’re deluded. Learn which journalistic conventions will make your writing better, and which will ruin it. Journalist habits that business writers should adopt Journalists and business writers share … Continued

In this Samsung Galaxy Note7 statement, can you spot what’s missing?

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Samsung’s new flagship phone, the Galaxy Note7, has a problem. Some of them are exploding. Samsung’s recall statement is very clear, except that something’s missing. Here’s the full statement about this unprecedented recall: [Statement] Samsung Will Replace Current Note7 with New One on September 02, 2016 Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and … Continued

Dropbox buries the lede

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Dropbox got hacked a while back. So the company emailed affected users — and hid the news. Burying the lede* is counterproductive; it just makes people work harder to find out the truth. Good writers get to the bad news quickly and frankly, then move on. Here’s what happened: In 2012, somebody stole 68 million Dropbox usernames and … Continued

How “get to the point” jibes with “tell a good story”

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Storytelling is all the rage in business. Meanwhile, I’m telling you to front-load your writing — to explain just what you’re about to say in the title and first few sentences. If you take my advice, won’t that ruin your story? Not quite. In fact, following my advice is the only way you’ll get to tell your … Continued