Write Like a Crime Reporter

Jesse Stanchak says the police blotter in your newspaper is a good example of consistent, focused writing that gives you useful information without wasting words:

  • It’s focused. The blotter is about local crime. There is no confusion and no wanderings. What the reader wants is the only thing you can offer.
  • It’s concise. Even the wordiest blotter gives you the facts and moves on. Readers get a lot of information quickly and without clutter.
  • It’s consistent. It’s regular, and therefore can become a habit for readers.
  • It offers a takeaway. People learn about crime in their neighborhoods, which is always a serious concern. They may not change their behaviors, but they may be more aware of their surroundings. They might also get amusing anecdotes or gossip about someone they know. These are all impulses to share the content and to rely on it.

These are great qualities to emulate in all types of writing.

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