Good journalism from the master

Keith Waterhouse, probably the best writer in journalism of his generation, died earlier this month at 80.

Among his accomplishments was Waterhouse on Newspaper Style, a manual for good writing. Most of what he says there is as valid in the digital age as it was when he wrote it. Here are a few snippets:
  • Journalists with flair write in the language of their readers  
  • If a news story is dramatic, drama should come out in the telling. It is not enough simply to assure readers that the drama was there  
  • Deadline fever encourages taut, crisp writing. The truly awfully written story demands time
  • To use outsiders' jargon is to take their own evaluation of themselves on trust  
  • An interesting story does not have to open with a war-whoop  
  • Despite the invention of the tape recorder, many newspapers have a tin ear for dialogue  
  • Few journalists realise that the ground-rules for the human-interest story were laid down in Cassel's Book of Indoor Amusements, 1881  
  • It is the tendency of cliches to generalise, approximate or distort