INTERNET AND WORLD WIDE WEB

In our day-to-day life, we often confuse the Internet with the World Wide Web. However, they both differ to some extent. The internet includes the web, as well as it is the infrastructure level of the medium, including services such as email, etc. On the other hand, the web is the public face of the internet medium, where users access information about products and services by visiting their respective websites.

It is quite necessary to remember that the internet is just a medium and not a document type. It provides the means of transmission and exchange of information presented in different document types. For example, we can’t sent a report via email as an attachment, or post it as a portable document format (pdf) on a site. The document would still be a report, regardless of its medium of transmission. In other words, while composing it, we should follow the conventions and expectations of report writing. Microsoft word, for instance, creates documents that are generally intended to be read in printed form or hard copy, even though they have been created and maybe even sent in a digital medium.

Digital media

Internet provides high visibility at very low cost, making it the most effective and fastest means of global communication. In the age of internet communication, a basic knowledge of the workings of the computer and internet is very necessary for all business environments.

The internet is a storehouse of information and a powerful medium of information distribution. In the present world of information technology knowledge of how the computer works is very important.

The computer is divided into three parts, the hardware, the operating system and software.

The hardware is the actual electronic part of the computer which includes memory, hard drive capacity, different drives or storage space (e.g. CD-ROM, DVD, etc.) and screen.

The powerful the hardware the higher level of work the computer can perform for e.g. for multimedia applications, one needs a computer with large hard drive and minimum megabytes (MB) of memory.

The operating system (OS), or platform, determines general functionality (how the computer works) and interface ( what the design of the screen looks like) It also determines the kind of software that can be installed and run in the computer.

To connect to the Internet, one needs a browser and an ISP (Internet Service Provider). The browser is the software that allows the computer to access data on the World Wide Web; for example, Internet Explorer, Firefox , Google chrome are very popular browsers. The Internet is actually a huge centreless network of computers connected through individual servers – the part of a company’s computer network that connects directly to the Internet. For an individual user, one needs a provider that has a server in order to connect (usually at a set fee). Companies and institutions have their own servers. The web address or URL, Uniform Resource Locator is actually a link to a server. If one wants to publish any material on the Internet, such as a website, one needs a server to host your site.

Submitting Articles for Online Publication

Writing for online magazines is somewhat similar to print journalism, particularly the inverted pyramid format. Also, as in print publishing, it is essential that you should be an avid reader of your magazine before becoming one of its writers. Going through recent articles of the magazine can provide you invaluable tips regarding the expectations of the editors and readers. Another way to analyze the readers of a magazine is through its advertisers. Many online magazines contain ads at the top or the sides of their page. The types of ads that are displayed there throw light on the demographics and psychographics of the target audience.

Browsing various sites will eventually make you familiar with the electronic magazines that might be a good choice for your article. In many sites, there is a link ‘About Us’, which gives information about the editorial angle, audience, and article submission requirements. In order to be on safer grounds, it is always beneficial to email the editor to present your idea and to determine the fee (if applicable), deadlines, and other relevant issues.

With regard to style, online articles are written in a more casual style than print publications. Online articles tend to be a mix of different genres and styles and allow more experimentation in word choice compared to print publications. Also, they should contain shorter sentences and paragraphs because of the restrictions of the screen-based interface. To sum it up, electronic articles have an economy of style in addition to attention-grabbing punches, which is not often expected for print publications.

Leads, hooks and ties in professional writing

Scientific and business magazines do not develop in a linear fashion like a news report. These articles differ from a news report in that they need not provide background or justify assertions. These articles are subjective and tell describe to the readers what the writer wants to say about a topic.

A magazine article plunges straight into the description of the product or discovery without wasting too much time in building the background.

The scientific and business article, discusses, immediately showing its relevance to the interests or needs of the reader. It then goes on to present different angles of the topic, starting with the most important and continuing in lessening in importance. It may end abruptly, or with one or two sentences with a comment, opinion or evaluative remark to the preceding discussion.

A magazine reader wants to be slowly pulled into reading an article. The lead is the opening statement that should attract the reader to the article. Its job is to relate the main topic to the reader’s general interests and experience.

A hook is similar to a lead, although it is usually more ‘spicy’ or provocative than a lead. A hook is like a bait to tempt the reader to carry on reading. Avoid abstractions and technical jargon.

A good lead starts by stating a fact and then asking a question about this fact from the reader’s point of view. It then goes on to overview the specifics of what the article will discuss and ends with a statement on the purpose of the article.

Sometimes a short narrative is also used as a lead. The rest of the article is a detailed description of the topic to be discussed.

The tie is an optional device at the end of the article with a comment or question summing up the writer’s attitude towards the topic.

Journalistic Style: Language and Techniques

Business and technology journalistic writing make the reader familiar with unknown concepts and happenings. They achieve it by presenting the information that is relevant to the readers in a creative way. This involves a lot of analyzing and synthesizing of information on the part of the writer. The writer must keep the following techniques in mind:

  • Factual: The writer must try to give as much factual information as possible. The 5Ws (What, When, Where, Why, Who) and 1H (How) help in achieving this.
  • Rational: Readers are always on the lookout for evaluative judgment, which can be found only in rational approaches.
  • Specific: The writer must give specific details with examples, wherever possible. People like reading about others: so, quotes, success stories and testimonials can be included. In some cases, experimental evidence can be provided in support of the statements.
  • Technical: Uninformed readers find the usage of technical jargon to be very tedious. In case jargons are used, they should be relevant to the context and easily identifiable. The writer should present the information by acting as someone who knows the inside story of the industry as if he is someone who is experiencing the same as others. That will help the readers to identify with the topic.

Press release

In an era of unprecedented information overload, there is always a danger of your news being overlooked by the media. Press release plays an important role in spreading the word to the media, which acts as a link between the news and public. A press release is the official version of a company or person about any issue to the media. Press releases target media persons or houses to announce something novel or important work or events. Press releases can also be follow-up reports about new developments or clarifications about an ongoing issue.

Press releases are given by hand or sent through e-mail, fax, post or are up loaded in a company’s website. They can also be part of a full press kit along with testimonials, quotes and additional information which will help the reporter make a good story.

The information in a press release cannot be uncontrolled; therefore, the facts and information should be given in a clear and concise manner which cannot be misinterpreted. Clear organization and adequate facts are the thumb rule of a good press release.  A press release is written in an inverted pyramid style.

Parts of a Press Release:

a) Headline: This is the most important line in a release it decides the fate of the news whether it will be considered newsworthy or not by the reporter and it is always in the present tense.

b) Sub headline: This line explains and expands the headline, filling in information with names and the implications of the headline.

c) Lead paragraph: This paragraph contains the 5Ws and 1H (who, what, when, where and how) of the news.

d) Body: The subsequent paragraphs provide additional information and official quotes.

e) Address bar: Placed at the end of the press release it contains contact information, mobile number and website address.

Note: For immediate release or embargo time for release is clearly mentioned in the top of a press release

Things to Remember:

  • Write with an audience in mind; make the news release in form of a news story.
  • Do not exaggerate, make false claims, stick to correct facts and figures, avoid hyperboles like path breaking, unique, etc.
  • Always write objectively as a journalist, avoid subjective references like “I” or “we” other than in a quote.
  • Copy a good newspaper writing style while writing a press release.
  • Follow the K.I.S.S rule, keep it simple and short. If you can put your information in two pages, good, but one page is even better.

Follow up with a call to confirm if the targeted person has received the press release or not.

The Inverted Pyramid

The Inverted Pyramid framework is the most conventional principle, which is followed for professional writing. Many people have been critical about it, but it has survived for more than a century. As per this principle, the most important point or essential element of an article should be placed at the top. In other words, the facts should be sequenced in descending order of importance. This might seem a bit blunt, but it is most effective.

Advantages

  • The readers can judge quickly whether they want to read the entire article or not.
  • Even if the readers decide to stop reading at any particular point, they have already grasped the main point of your article.
  • The first few sentences provide a quick overview of the entire article.
  • It is of great advantage to editors. In case an article exceeds its specified space, they can easily trim the content from the bottom instead of starting from the first and changing the entire structure.
  • It captures and retains the readers’ interest. If the beginning is not captivating, readers skim for other alternatives.
  • Creating headlines becomes easier and faster through it.
  • It improves the creative and organizational capability of the writer.

Layout Considerations And Page Design

Different magazines have different layout styles, which determine the content choices. This means that a magazine will not change its layout and the space allotted to each article type, to accommodate a particular article. The article would be edited and formatted in the magazines standard manner.

Main layout considerations include:

  • Space: Each article has a word limit to accommodate it in the space allotted in the magazines layout.
  • Paragraph length: Magazine articles have shorter paragraphs compared to reports and essays.
  • Visuals: Visuals are often used to add more clarity to the article and are designed considering the target audiences needs and expectations.
  • Sections and headings: Sections are designed according to the space allotted for an article. Crossheads are used as a form of signposting to direct readers attention.

Page design is divided into four aspects:

  • Proximity: This refers to the spatial layout that displays related objects. For example, you be placed close to each other and to the relevant text.
  • Alignment: This refers to balancing the positions of horizontal and vertical elements on a page in relation to each other. For example, you can align the objects on the left with the left edge of the page and the objects on the right with the right edge of the page.
  • Repetition: This refers to the repetition of elements that bind different sections together. Bullet points, colors, and typefaces can be repeated for a visual impact and to help readers recognize and scan through pages easily and quickly.
  • Contrast: This is the opposite of repetition. It refers to putting together different elements and creating a visual impression. The use of contrasting elements acts as an information hierarchy. It introduces an element of surprise and indicates that the article has depth and variety. It can be used in colors, fonts and direction. To create an effective and impressive publication, you need to balance repetition and contrast.

Journalists use different terminologies to talk about the layout of articles and pages:

  • Title: This is used for all articles except new stories; headline is used for news stories. Titles can be creative and cryptic; headlines are not: they are structured in sentence form, present tense. For example, a title can be Swept Away; a headline can be Largest Tsunami Ever Recorded Hits Country.
  • Pullquote: It refers to using text of an article as a highlighting device “ the pullquotes from an article should be able to tell a story (i.e., summarize the main points of the article).
  • Subhead: It refers to the text that comes below the title and is used to give more information on the articles topic. Subheads are useful when the title is too enigmatic and needs explanation.
  • Crosshead: It is the journalistic term for heading.
  • Caption: It is the text that accompanies a visual.

Transitional Words, Phrases and Sentences

Transitional words, phrases and sentences regulate the flow of paragraphs and sections. Besides, transitional sentences, as well as, in longer documents, transitional paragraphs can be used between one section and another.

Two common forms of transition are described below.

1)  Using a short sentence to state briefly your intended meaning in the next paragraph. For example, you might say, So far we have been discussing unemployment. Now we consider inflation. This could occur at the end of one paragraph or at the beginning of the next, depending on the paragraphs length and its desired effect. However, the new paragraph would begin more intensely, if its topic had already been introduced in the previous paragraph.

2)  Repeating a keyword or phrase, in order to echo the point made in a previous paragraph. In fact, synonyms can also be used for this purpose. For example, observe the following extract, from an article on evolution, for how this technique has been used. Besides, I have italicized the transitional sentences and the cohesive devices in the following paragraph:

Understanding the shape of the tree of life and the details of its branches are more than a quaint sideline of biology, even though the science of this quest, known as systematic, has come to be regarded by many biologists as dowdy and old fashioned, little more than stamp collecting. But, such an understanding is probably the best foundation for a larger appreciation of life, including evolution, ecology and behaviour. As Colin Patterson, a palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum of London, said: To retrieve the history of life, to reconstruct the evolutionary tree, is still the aim of evolutionary biology. Getting it right is therefore important.

Sentences and Style

Tips for Choosing Style

Include Variety

“Sentence variety is a means by which the writer helps the reader to understand which ideas are most important, which ideas support or explain other ideas, etc. Variety of sentence structures is also a part of style and voice.” (Douglas E. Grudzina and Mary C. Beardsley)

Adding variety to sentences gives it life and rhythm. Sentences with the same structure and length become boring for readers. Varying sentence style and structure also reduces repetition and adds emphasis wherever necessary. Long sentences are useful when incorporating large amount of information; short sentences help in maximizing the essential points. To enliven the paragraphs, the sentences should be of varying lengths. This also helps in creating effective emphasis. If many sentences start with the same word (The, It, This, or I), it becomes tedious for readers. Therefore, changing the opening words and phrases can be refreshing. Different beginnings help alter not only the structure but also the emphasis of the sentence. Also, one change often leads another, thus creating an abundance of sentence variety.

Use Subordination Carefully

Subordination is a grammatical strategy, which combines two ideas of a sentence, one being more important than the other. The less important idea is subordinate to the more important idea. The data chosen for subordination depends upon the meaning you want to deliver. The main idea should be expressed in an independent clause, and subordinate ideas should be expressed in subordinate clauses. Subordination enhances the writing style.

Ex:      As the sky turned dark gray, the wind died down. [Focus is on wind].

As the wind died down, the sky turned dark gray. [Focus is on sky].

When, Whenever, After, Until, Before, After, Where, Wherever, Because, Since, So that, If, Unless, If only, Although, and Even though are all effective subordinators.

Proper Use of First and Second Person Pronouns

Usage of first (I, my, me, mine, we, us, our, ours) and second (You, your, yours) person pronouns is important in establishing a link between the writer and the reader. Unless giving an opinion, one should generally write in Third person. Try to keep first and second person pronouns such as “I”, “We”, and “You” out of your writing as much as possible.