1. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    Writing Brief Summaries? A little help?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by dizzyspell, Oct 28, 2010.

    Ok, feel free to move this if it is in the wrong place, didn't really know where to put it.

    Coming up, I've got a job eligibility test for a part time position writing news summaries. They will be testing me on spelling, grammar and all that jazz, which I am fairly confident with.
    I am less confident about actually writing a summary of anything,which they will also test me on. This is an entry level position, so they're not looking for perfection, but of course I want to be the best I can.

    So my question is, what do I look out for when I'm listening to what I have to summarise? How do I make my writing in this regard 'pop'? What makes an effective brief summary? Any tips on being brief?

    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help me out with this. I really want this job, and once I get the basics down, I think I will be really good at it.
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    News summaries...I"m sure the terminology is different in New Zealand compared to the U.S., but are we talking about writing articles? Is a summary like a news lede? If that's what you're doing, the lede can be either 1) a summary of the article's main events, or 2) a creative hook, with a nut graf a few paragraphs down that summarizes the meat of the story.

    As far as brevity, don't use more than one word to describe something when you could use just one (this doesn't apply only to reporting, it also makes your writing better in general). Don't say "very surprising" when you could say "shattering." etc.

    Are we talking about news reporting? If so, I can help you. Or are we talking about PR, press releases, etc?
     
  3. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Stick to the point. Don't waffle. Look for a hook and mention it as ASAP in the writing.
    Remain unbiased.
    Basics, really. The best of luck.
     
  4. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    When it comes to summarizing, you stick with the point and never stray. Don't add a lot of extra stuff that doesn't need to be in there.

    An example of an event that just happened around us recently (if I had to summarize it).

    Jane Doe (because they haven't released her name yet) was arrested earlier this morning by such-and-such police. Reports say that she was arrested for throwing a nine month old baby into their crib. The case is under investigation, more details are expected to arrive.

    Or something like that, they haven't released the full story yet, just given us the minor details so that's the best summary I can come up with at this time.

    Anyways, my point is, that the summary is as direct as possible and doesn't stray from the topic. I didn't put in any minor details that didn't need to be in there, and I didn't bs around and try and impress anyone. I used common dialogue so that everyone could understand it.

    So basically:
    1. Make it direct
    2. Keep it clean
    3. Never stray
    4. Make it understandable (no big words!!)
     
  5. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    Thank you all very much! I'm starting to practice now :)
     

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