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

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

Blame yourself, not the media, for salacious Trump coverage

Do you think that the news media favor sensation over substance? The evidence shows the opposite. So why does it seem that way? Because sensation is what we, as readers, want, and social algorithms give us what we ask for. The two most newsworthy things that Donald Trump did in the last two days were these: He … Continued

Killing widows and orphans, and other lost skills

I’ve got a long history in the print business. I’ve got detailed knowledge of an obsolescing technology. I can’t help but wonder what that means. Ink is in my blood. My grandfather was a linotype operator for the long-gone Philadelphia Bulletin (an afternoon paper); he worked with hot lead and his hands were so tough he could pick … Continued

Finimize: common sense financial writing

I got a PR pitch last week that I liked. The site they pitched me on is as clear and punchy as the pitch they sent. It’s proof of my maxim that short, clear writing stands out. The site is called Finimize. Here’s the pitch they sent me: Hi – I noticed your blog post on … Continued

Cyber-rattling from a weak, equivocal, and ignorant Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s interview about technology on breitbart.com is uncharacteristically equivocal; he sounds like any other politician. Apparently, his batshit candor is limited to tweets, debates, and speeches. Memo to Trump-haters and opponents: technology is his weak spot. Breitbart Tech’s Milo Yiannopoulos interviewed Trump about tech issues from the NSA to artificial intelligence. Full of equivocation and hedges, Trump’s … Continued

Donald Trump, memes, and the dangers of post-factual politics

In 1998, Donald Trump told People Magazine “If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country.” That’s the meme, accompanied by the graphic at right. Rosemary Olsen posted it on Facebook and said “I fact checked this. It’s true.” 14,901 people shared it. And it’s completely false. … Continued

Are Dell and EMC dead? An unclouded perspective.

Cade Metz of Wired wants us to know that even with a $67 billion merger, Dell and EMC are doomed. The cloud will kill them. The reasoning is sophisticated, but the language is simple. You could learn a lot about powerful writing from this article. Let’s break it down. Titles and opening sentences are crucial when … Continued

In the #IStandWithAhmed story, conflicting principles confound the principal

There’s a lot more going on in Irving, Texas than a clever boy with a home-made clock and brown skin. Look close, and the story of #IStandWithAhmed — and the letter the principal sent to parents — reveals how America is cracking apart. [tweetthis]America is built on contradictions. They’re at the heart of #IStandWithAhmed.[/tweetthis] Here are a couple: … Continued