Common Errors: Bias article (cont.)

There’s some repetition here, but that’s the point: It is my experience that you repeat the same mistakes over and over. So try to pay attention to these points and learn from them. Your next story will reflect the improvement.

  • While and as: These words make poor connectors after a comma or semicolon. Instead, start a new sentence. Keeps it simple!
  • I wish I could have a quarter for every comma fault
  • So many overlong paragraphs.
  • So many long, run-on sentences.
  • The word “claims” is biased. You are doubting someone else’s comment.
  • MW = missing word(s). It indicates a lack of proofreading.
  • Journalists are reporters or writers, not authors. Authors write books.
  • Avoid some prepositional phrases by using the possessive.
  • Sarah Palin is Palin on second reference unless there is another Palin in the story.
  • Using the passive voice is like running around a forehand in tennis to hit a backhand.
  • “Orphan quotes” tell the reader that you’re not using the best, or right, word.
  • Magazines publish stories. Journalists write stories.
  • Bias is a singular noun, biases is a plural noun, biased is a transitive verb.
  • Republican and Democrat are not interchangeable with conservative and liberal. The party names are proper nouns and capitalized.
  • There is no ital or underlining in Associated Press Style.
  • The purpose of circling pronouns in your first draft was: a), to see if you can identify pronouns; b), to create a habit on your part to replace pronouns, which are euphemisms, with nouns.
  • Words like “continues” and especially “goes on to say” indicate that you are writing chronologically rather than in descending order of importance.
  • First names on first reference.
  • Reporters don’t write their own headlines (PLEASE don’t use the word “title”). Therefore, a headline doesn’t necessarily indicate the writer’s bias.
  • WC and WW indicates poor word choice and a failure of the editing process of reread, revise, rewrite and proofread. Use a dictionary!


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