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Choose your words carefully

Precision is important in reporting. As future editors, you need to understand how word choices can change the meaning of a sentence or of a story. This is particularly important in crime coverage.  Is innocent the same thing as not guilty? Does the liberal use of allegedly in crime stories make a difference? Read Scott Libin’s interesting article on word choices to find out. As we’ve discussed in class, murder and slaying are not the same thing. Neither are burglary and robbery.   Too often reporters cram stories full of “police talk” or jargon. Editors must translate gibberish into plain English so readers understand its meaning. Read all three of the articles I’ve linked to in this post before next week’s labs. This will help you with an exercise or quiz in labs next week.

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