Session 1: Why Writing Still Matters

After attending last spring’s CMA Conference in New York City, one important lesson I learned is that some sessions, which sound awesome and intriguing on paper, will be slightly dull in execution.

Such was the case with my first session of this Chicago conference: “Why Writing Still Matters,” facilitated by Jake Lowary of Austin Peay State University.

The idea behind Lowary’s session was very interesting. In short, how can we journalists remain mindful of good grammar, punctuation, etc. in a digital age when everything is abbreviated and cut down to 140 characters?

But the discussion veered off topic for a majority of the session. What began as an interesting conversation about how basic writing skills have disintegrated on social media transformed into a Q&A about how to make a Twitter feed private, exactly how incriminating are incriminating Facebook photos and why bloggers may or may not be useful in the journalism industry.

Lowary certainly drove home a lot of excellent points (“If you can’t write a cover letter or you can’t write an e-mail, it’s not going to do you a whole lot of good, because you can’t pay the bills.”), and he emphasized just how crucial it is to keep simple grammar and punctuation in mind, even on social media.

I only wish the session had stayed on that interesting track, instead of diverting to a less helpful discussion.

— Rebecca Iannucci

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