Many writers, journalists and reporters have lost it even to the point some have given up the idea of practicing the noble trade. It is either that the profession is not financially rewarding enough or that they can no longer cope with the demands of the job. It’s time consuming and no holidays, they complained. Whatever the excuse, the simple truth is that, like any other profession, one must have the passion for the job to succeed. No profession or career comes easy any way. In short, in life nothing comes easy. Indeed, Bongos Ikwe, the Nigerian musician did remind us in one of his hit songs of the ‘70s that nothing comes easy.
The truth is that many have had it tough dealing with their editors. They failed to communicate their assignments in the language the audience would grasp without having to strain their ears or eyes. The style of presentation could also be another issue. They stand before the editor hoping to receive praises for a good write up. To their utter dismay they watch helplessly as the supposedly good piece, in their own estimation, is torn to shred by the almighty editor and thrown to the waste bin. Some out of frustration turn their back on the newsroom never to return.
“Enough of insult!” They would hiss and walk away. They are not humble or submissive, neither are they ready to learn on the job, this set of people. One thing is clear. They lacked clarity of thought and expression. Again, they failed to imbibe the idea of speaking and writing direct. This crop of media people who eventually find the profession boring and fizzle out perhaps in most cases, do not adhere to the principles of KISS-keep it short and simple but would prefer to sound bombastic to impress themselves rather than express their thoughts in the language the people would understand. To give us a clearer picture of what I mean by speaking and writing direct devoid of long winding and complex statements, these examples may satisfy your curiosity.
There are plenty of them. But let these serve and spur you to fish out more of the flowery expressions you should avoid. For instance, statements such as “arrangements were in the hands of,” “at the present time/presently,” “declared redundant,” “adequate bus transport,” “a large proportion of,” and “a percentage of” are considered by the English purists and masters as too lengthy for mediums such as the radio and television. Remember, radio and television as channels of mass communication thrive on simple, direct phrases if everybody must be carried along irrespective of educational background or status. In other words, simplicity guides their conduct in programming. Can we then find suitable substitutes to do away with these complex expressions? The answer is yes.
There are as many of them as one can think of. One can conveniently write, for example, “arranged by, handled,” to replace, “arrangements were in the hands of,” expression. Similarly, statements such as “at the present time/at present,” “now” or “currently” can take their place. “Declared redundant,” “adequate bus transport,” “a large proportion of,” and “a percentage of ” sentences can be reduced to “sacked,” “retired,” “enough bus,” “many,” “chunk,” “some,” “fraction.” One more thing before we draw the curtain. Do have it in mind as a good and creative writer that punctuation marks are of essence or utmost importance. This applies mostly to the broadcast journalist and reporter who largely depend on them to create the pauses and breaks for a flawless presentation of the news. We shall deal with punctuation marks as we progress.