Way with words: CRISP style for journalists

This session was also led by Frank Coffman, who lectured on the subject of writing concisely and with brevity.

He discussed how literary writing could be useful to draw information and techniques from ancient Greek writers and philosophers, such as Isocrates and Aristotle.

In his session, Coffman discussed the CRISP method, which defined the ideal way to write in a literary style.

CRISP method


It’s important to delete the following in order to maintain write clearly:

Redundancies, irrelevancies, references to yourself and any and all needless words.


Anything general and vague with the vivid and specific.

The long word with the shorter word.

The uncommon word with the common.


Change the passive voice to the active voice.

Avoid nominalizations.

Seek the action verb to replace forms of “to be.”


Avoid putting information you wish to emphasize in the middle of a sentence.

Strive for a variety of sentence structures.


Make use of poetic devices to make your communication special.

Pay attention to the sound of language and the sense of words – read your sentences aloud.

–Eva Hill


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