Category Archives: Reading Response


Chapters five and six in Robert M. Knight’s “Journalistic Writing” reminded me, once again, that my major and minor go hand-in-hand. Through my writing for “The Roar,” as well as my creative writing and writing for English classes, I am able to combine all the best parts of English and Mass Communication. Knight reminds writers to keep their content simple and clear. From what I know and the experience I have, I’m able to communicate in clear and concise language when writing journalistically.

I was happy to see Knight address sexism in the English language. While I love the English language, it does have flaws, and the use of “he” as a pronoun in sentences with no real subject is one that bothers me the most. As a journalist in a fairly progressive paper, I’ve been proud that my fellow editors also use “they” pronouns anywhere writing doesn’t reference a specific person. “He or she” has always struck me as intolerant of those who do not identify as male or female, and I hope that journalism continues to evolve in their usage of  “they.”

Overall, the reading didn’t impact me the way someone new to journalism would be. It was, however, a valuable refresher. I continue to be disgusted by the lack of the Oxford comma.


Keaton Benfield: Reading Response #2

These two chapters gave me some important tips on how to be more concise, direct and even how to spot what would be called murky writing. A lot of the information Knight gives in these chapters will definitely be helpful for me going forward, especially when it comes to cleaning up my own sentences and being more direct with what I am trying to convey to the audience.

I’ve struggled with writing more information than is needed, not only because of all of my English major habits but also because I am afraid that I will leave something out that the audience may need to understand. However, Knight shows us that you can present all of our information by simply changing up verbs, sentence structure or even dropping complex sentences altogether and separating them so that it does not feel redundant or bloated with content.

Both chapters provided me with great examples of all of these issues and I know I will look back at them for future reference. I haven’t really noticed it until now but I can sometimes get active and passive voice mixed up in my writing and figuring out where they both are supposed to be will definitely improve the quality of my work and the way that I get information across to others. I also found the last paragraph of Chapter 6 to be very important, where Knight says that we still need to have fun with our writing, and we can still develop or keep our own writing style when writing in a way that might be a little different compared to how we are used to writing.

RR2- This would’ve been helpful for the grammar quiz

I read these two chapters after my second attempt on the grammar quiz, and had I known how helpful they are, I would have used them as a resource while taking the quiz. I struggle with “that” and “which,” “who” and “whom,” and active versus passive voice. Knight’s notes on clear, concise writing and on avoiding wordiness were a helpful reminder. The more grammar-focused sections, coming after my grammar quiz, had me wishing I’d done better.

I appreciated the examples Knight gave the most. Their variety and explanations gave me a better sense of the usage for these words that I often mess up. It will come in handy as a writing tutor as well; it’s easier to point out that a word or phrase is wrong than it is to explain why. I get a lot of questions about active and passive voice in particular, and Knight’s examples have me a better understanding of how to spot the difference and when it’s okay to use passive voice.

RR1: Keeping Things (Moderately) Colorful

I won’t lie: I wasn’t excited about reading this. Writing books about writing is hard to accomplish in and of itself; it’s a whole other ballpark to make it enjoyable to read. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was not only well-written, but interesting, and provided its information in concise language. Within twenty-some-odd pages, I had not only been given excellent information, but I absorbed it all.

The theme of this reading was “keeping things simple,” which is a task writers like myself often struggle with. As a journalist, my job is to give people all the information they need. As a creative writer, my job is to take the reader to the places I’m discussing. In theory, these two things work well together: the ability to communicate a news story and the ability to make the story “colorful”, as Knight describes in “Some Basic Guidelines for Developing Writing Skills.” Unfortunately, they often get the better of me.

In an attempt to give a reader all the information they need while also telling an engaging and visual story, I write too much. This is usually fixed by a lot of editing, both by myself and by my fellow editors. Though I’m improving, this chapter gave me several guidelines that will benefit me in writing my next piece.

I was deeply disturbed by the lack of the Oxford comma throughout the chapter.

Just Write Something Already: Reading Response 1

For as long as I can remember, writing has always been a great struggle for me. Putting my thoughts to paper is a challenge. I will spend hours on hours trying to come up with the right words and forget where I am going on my topic. The KISS acronym I find helpful because I have often been told by my English majored mother and sister that I tend to overthink things and I should just keep my writing simple. I often find myself putting in filler words and reusing ideas from previous paragraphs just to reach the word count. I’ve always known the rules of writing and have done exceptionally well on test involving the English language, but have never been good at applying that knowledge.

Lede and Jargon are definitely new words for me. Knight’s first chapter explains how important words are and how eloquent language can be. He writes how important choosing the right words are and how you start your story off can decide whether your reader wants to continues or not.

Overall, I think Journalistic Writing could help me to improve my writing and keep everything in order. To hold on to the audience’s attention and get to the point and not spend so much time on something that should be done fairly quick

Keaton Benfield: Reading Response #1

Whenever I make errors in my own writing in English classes, I always hear from my professors that I am writing too much, that I need to simplify and be more concise with what I am attempting to explain to the audience. This is also a crucial step in the process of reporting and writing pieces in journalism. It is a difficult thing to accomplish, but it is a very important rule to keep in mind when writing anything. Knight emphasizes that the writer must not over-simplify complicated subject matters, but he/she must use words that everyone is able to comprehend.

Knight also goes into detail about the English language itself and the way that it is utilized. It was interesting to read about the complexities of the language and I even learned valuable information that I had no knowledge of before. Techniques and skills that I use within my other English classes can also carry over to this course and the style of writing. Many of the same rules apply to both but in different ways that set them apart, despite the similarities.

Even though I had known about many of the ideas and tips that Knight has written about here, I still feel like it was a fresh take on subjects that I had previous information of. It made me look back at my own writing again and I feel as if I am more aware of how I need to improve.  

Reading Response 1

While many people believe that writing for English courses is about throwing as many words on the page as possible to meet a requirement, good writing, good papers, are not. In this chapter, I found many of the same lessons I’ve learned as an English major: if you can say it in less words, do so, but pick your words carefully. Don’t just be concise, but precise. Dr. O’Keefe’s mantra of “words make sound” was also here as Knight discussed the English language.

This chapter was part refresher and part new information. The information I’d heard before was delivered in a different way, showing me a new side of it and a new way to use it, two things which are why I wanted to take this class. I know how to write, but I don’t know this kind of writing. The new information was given in the same way Knight says to write: direct, simple, and telling the reader what they need to know next.

It also served as a reminder to be more conscious as I write, something that is important no matter the kind of writing. I hope to keep remembering this as I write for this class and others.