Friday, October 10, 2008

J-Tips: Quit Holding So Much Stuff

Every now and then, I like to offer a little journalism advice for the aspiring writers out there. Of course, these tips are great refreshers for veteran journalists as well when speaking and writing for the news media.

See the very first J-Tip here.

Today's tip is something that really bothers me when I see it because it was reinforced so much at the journalism school I attended. I see plenty of newspapers use this one all the time, too. The Roanoke Times does it, the Herald-Dispatch does it, the Washington Post does it, and even the New York Times does it. But none of that makes it the right thing to do.

Don't hold meetings! Meetings weren't held! Quit holding meetings!

From Dr. George T. Arnold, the authority on journalistic writing and author of the Media Writer's Handbook:

"Although some mass communicators are not bothered by the use of hold, held or holding when reporting about meetings, conferences, parties or conventions, other writers and broadcasters think such use is...silly. A person can hold another's hand, a fork, a baby or any number of other objects, but how does one hold a meeting?"

Please, for the sake of the English language and for the sake of not looking silly, start saying that organizations will meet or that an event takes place. You're welcome.

1 comment:

Kelvin Oliver said...

This is an amusing post and very interesting! If journalists and media can not hold meetings than the general public can't hold meetings as well. Nevertheless, I never imagine someone stating the fact that people can't hold meetings. Never thought of it like that. You got me thinking. :)