MDW #7

by cjcoughlin

Article #1

Effective summaries can make or break an article.

Journalists should be mindful of the power of a successful summary. Readers, now more than ever, are pressed for time and depend on an authors brevity and discretion when finding news and topics that are relevant to them and a good summary can be the sharpest tool in their toolbox.

In his treatise on writing effective summaries, Jim Stovall gives a good rundown of the essential traits a summary should have: it should either inform, educate or entice. An informational summary provides the reader with an overview of the story, giving them an easily digestible sampling of the meat of the article.

The analytical summary presents the reader with the “why”; why did the local team lose, how was the accident caused, etc. The author gives the reader a more refined glimpse into the story by providing more details, but with a brief delivery.

Finally, the author may try the approach of a provocative summary. A strong, somewhat mysterious lead-in can give readers a sense of anticipation that makes them want to discover what a story is about. This seems to be the de-facto tactic today for journalists looking to attract attention to a story. When used appropriately these three summary techniques are sure to deliver results, no matter what the story is.


Article #2

Brevity is the essence of successful web writing.

Some of the most successful writers in history have relied upon making their points using an economy of words. Conveying your message in a concise format is essential to effective communication online.

When writing, there’s a natural inclination to illustrate your point with a good deal of words. No one wants to be misunderstood and some authors believe that more words equals better reader comprehension. History has proven, however, that some of the most powerful and memorable documents, speeches and articles have relied upon a sense of brevity. Choosing the right words is half the battle.


Article #3

Apple’s plan to maintain their grip on the market with phones at different price points seems to have backfired.

With the release of the iPhone models 5c and 5s Apple finally addressed consumer concerns by providing an “entry level” phone to those not prepared to spend the money for the latest and greatest. The unintended consequence is buyers are hesitant to put down their cash for a phone that will be outdated within a year.

Retailers noticed this hesitation and have pounced, offering trade-in deals for the newer and more powerful model, the 5s. When it was introduced the 5s was seen as the “premium” phone in comparison to the bargain priced 5c; the 5s boasted a faster processor and screen while the 5c was a slightly upgraded 5 with a colorful shell. This seemed to be popular with buyers at first but in just a short time the 5s has become the de facto model thanks to Apple’s release schedule and retailer deals. It seems not everything with an Apple logo will sell.


Article #4

A new phishing scam is targeting Netflix users by drawing them to fake websites via sponsored ads.

Just weeks after Netflix users were warned of a phishing attempt perpetrated by crooks posing as customer service representatives, a new con has emerged: scammers are purchasing advertisements with fake support phone numbers through legitimate companies and pushing those ads to the top of search results.

This is particularly troublesome because these ads look official and are set to fool a lot of people.  When a customer calls one of the crooked numbers, a scammer may ask for login info or account specifics; an old phishing trick but the brazenness of the enterprise should have people worried. Consumers should be wary when searching for support and only trust links that refer back to a service or company’s official site.