Quartz: On Writing at Bloomberg vs. The Economist

This article on Quartz has little to do with Financial Modeling, Data Analysis.  It’s about writing, and the stylistic differences between how two to the most respected publishers in business journalism craft their stories.  I enjoyed it.

It’s hard to believe that Bloomberg has a 359-page style guide.   I like how they define their audience:

Bloomberg stories must be clear enough for a dope to understand and substantial enough for a professional to appreciate

Regarding editing, I liked how the Economist says they respect the voice of the writer, even though most articles in their magazine are anonymous.

The moral for editors is that they should respect good writing. That is mainly what this style guide is designed to promote. It is not intended to impose a single style on all The Economist’s journalists. A writer’s style, after all, should reflect his mind and personality.

The article closes by citing George Orwell’s six timeless rules for good writing, which I had never seen before. Those timeless rules are:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.



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