Writing Style for Mass Media In Nigeria

 

Style is simply uniqueness. It is your own unique way of doing things. No two persons have the same style. When we talk about writing style, this means your uniqueness in how you express yourself through essays and other forms of writing. No two persons write in the same way. That is why you find some readers buying a particular newspaper because the writing style of journalists and opinion article writers there are very interesting and intriguing.

No matter what you do you cannot write like your classmate. You might pretend to write like him or her because you like his or her writing style. But you can’t get it exactly. So why do you like the way some persons write? It has to do with their choice of words, the way they construct their sentences, how punchy their paragraphs are, and such other elements. Our basic interest here is journalistic style. Journalists have their own style of writing. The mass media in Nigeria exist in a competitive atmosphere, so use of appropriate writing style that appeals to the audience is important to every organization. This is why every serious mass media organization in Nigeria has a style guide that is used to ensure consistency in content presentation.

 

Journalistic writing style is a style of writing that is used to report news stories in a variety of media formats. Some features the journalistic writing style include short, simple sentences and paragraphs that present objective stories based on facts. Journalists use quotes to give the story credibility. Journalists working for media organizations also use inverted pyramid style to present straight news report. So journalistic style makes journalists using in the way they present stories.

 

 

We need to understand that there are different kinds of style

We have the

Simple style: This entails use of simple, easy-to-understand words and sentences to present a story. Here the sentences are straight to the point too, with easy-to-understand language. Choice of words and verbs are very simple. This is the writing style suggested for journalists, except for those writing for specific audience that may require other kinds of writing style. Most mass media organizations in Nigeria use this style in presenting editorial contents for audience consumption.

 

Complex style: This consists of use of high-sounding words to present your story or essay. Here you find out that an average reader might have to be referring to the dictionary just to follow up on the messages in your article. This might not be a good idea. However, some persons often use this style. Lawyers use the complex writing style a lot. For a journalist that writes for various classes of audience, the simple style is very essential.

 

Flowery style: This is a descriptive form of writing, using words that paint a picture of what the audience are reading. Flowery language is a very elaborate, fanciful, and often poetic/literary way of writing. It is not as plain as the plain. You use words and phrases provide vivid description of your story to the audience.

 

Conversational Style: This refers to writing in a tone makes an article sound like a conversation between two persons rather than a serious, very official story.

 

 

Conversational writing style aims at engaging the target audience in a language they use in casual discussions every day. It breaks every grammatical rule. We are not referring to pidgin English per say. It is English language simplified and casualized. Sentences may begin with pronouns and end with verbs. Sentences may even begin with “and,” “but,” and “yet.” This is the style adopted by the broadcast media in writing and presenting news and event to the audience.

 

There are concepts we need to understand while discussing writing style. There is what is called personal style. This refers to your own way of writing, your unique way of constructing sentences and paragraphs to make meaning. Everyone has a personal style. That is your own identity. Like I said in class, if you want to know the real person in any individual, just checkout what that person has written. That is a reflection of who that person is. Some people like using simple style while others like complex style. They infuse that in their personal style. That is why you see some people using high sounding words while speaking or writing. Personal style is your unique style.

We have the house style. This is the way a media organization presents its stories on its platform for public consumption.

The house style refers to specific ways an organization uses words, their editing guide which should be followed by writers and editors to ensure consistency in what is published in their medium, be it newspaper, magazine, radio, television, or online news platform.

How style should be supersede your personal style. You don’t go into a media house and ignore their own official house style because you think you like your personal style. Personal style should be good but house style is actually supreme. That is why organizations provide house style guide for anyone to study once employed to work with them.

house style guide is a document that contains how a media organization’s editorial contents should be written. The House style guide provides information on writing and formatting such as word choice, tone, specific grammar and punctuation issues, and how the organization uses titles such as Mr.,Chief., Dr., in their stories. It is good to know the house style of your establishment so as not to go against their presentation style. It also makes your work easy.

 

 

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in a Nigerian University.

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