Journalism is a funny thing. For some, that’s a legitimate statement — satirical journalism, the art of the hehe haha, is both difficult to curate and incredibly compelling to read. However, even for those with less inherently funny topics to cover, there is something humorous about sitting down to write an article. Maybe you’ve done a significant amount of research and interviews and you’re trying to figure out how to parse it all, or maybe you’re rawdogging a Culture article about Dream from Minecraft at 3 p.m. mid-midterms haze. Either way, why not take that moment to just sit there and contemplate what you’re going to write (and what you’ve done with your life that has led you to derive a masochistic pleasure in slamming through articles that will inevitably sit in a WordPress backlog for years with minimal recognition)? While you’re doing that little thinky, here are some things you should also ponder:
- If you’ve done an interview for your piece, make sure you put in the details that flesh out the interviewee. Do some showing and some telling. If they have a habit of scratching the back of their neck or pulling at their sleeves, mention that and describe the shirt that they’re wearing for additional flavor text. If they gesticulate with their hands a lot or their tone changes when they touch on a certain topic, mention that. If they rip the most intense, silent ass you’ve ever inhaled mid-interview, go ham. Titillate the senses. Describe that fart as if you’ve never smelt or dealt one before in your whole goddamn life. You’re the one in the interview, not the reader, and what they get out of it is what you put in.
- When you’re writing, make sure to think about what audience you want to reach with your piece. Think about what would resonate with them, and what would get in their head. Pick a specific person you want to have care about this piece and Instagram stalk them and their immediate family, friends, and coworkers. Call up one of their guardians and ask them about a nightmare they recurrently had in their youth, and add imagery of it in a very subtle way. Freak them out. Make them scared of you — it’s an emotion, and feeling emotions makes a piece memorable. Send them the article from an anonymous email address with their home address and last four digits of their social security number in the body. You did it all for them. They should thank you.
- It’s important to think about rhetoric and jargon and approach them with a sense of tact. After all, not everyone that reads your writing may share all of your niche interests or understand all of the content you do. So, if you want to be the perfect asshole, make all of your writing incredibly unapproachable to everyone outside of the upper echelon of readers, and make your disdain for the plebs who have to look up the papers you cite as references to points you make without explaining nearly anything about them really, really clear. After all, the uneducated twerps reading your review of the new Super Mario movie should just get good, duh.
- What matters most is to show passion for the subject that you’re covering. No matter what you actually write about, if you have an interest in letting people know about it, it will shine through in your writing. Be willing to go through the back and forth in the editing process, especially if you know more about the subject than your editor does, to make it as clear and compelling as possible for a reader. Your voice matters, and people will care about what you care about if you make it relevant to them and explain that underlying “so what?”
- Shamelessly plug your social media handles within every article you write to gain followers and street cred. Maybe you’ll pick up a hot babe who just really loved that beat you did on the therapy dogs so much that they want to marry you immediately, and not just for tax benefits.