Week 9- News Writing Introduction: Grammar, punctuation and 25 words.

This morning, we were introduced to the topic of ‘The print industry’ where we learned about the history of the print industry and how it all changed throughout time:

The print industry

The whole story begun in 1450 when Johannes Gutenburg built the world’s first printing press to exist, which he named the ‘Gutenburg press’ after himself. But before 1450 when Gutenburg built this invention, the only way that any form of information and literacy could exist was if it was written out by hand and even then, it would take around 2-3 years to complete just one copy. The bible is a good example since it was one of the first books to be printed and this one did take 2-3 years to write out. And as a result, not many sources of written information existed and mainly only monks and the 1% of the population could read, write and understand the texts.

It turned out that during this era, all sources of information was controlled by the Catholic Church in Europe. An example would include a time when people believed that spiders had only six legs, and this was an actually spoken fact from the church. No one thought to challenge this thought because the church held all power to the information.

But by 1550, because of the printing press being used more and becoming more popular, the number of books that existed rose dramatically from 20,000 to 200,000 over a 50 year period- which also had a massive increase on the written word too. But this increase in the written word had its consequences relating to the bible; if it was translated into common English by anyone it would result in death. This was because everyone believed that it meant the church had no power over it then.

But even though it had one major consequence if mistreated, it also came with benefits: People would be starting to make more money and would also start learning more and becoming more able to read and possibly write. It also aided the use of keeping track of large amounts of money made and even the standardisation of language and numbers within it- meaning that everybody would be receiving the same item of print and be able to understand more as well. But what else could happen was that the same information could be transferred and any human errors made could be quickly disseminated (spread around). However, there were three types of information that was basically what kept the society together mainly from 1500 to 1600. These were: scientific method, record keeping, and books.

As for the scientific information, it was until the 1500s when monks were discovering all the science behind things and would observe things to gather their findings.

But shortly after that, the increasing knowledge of the general population and growing middle class of merchants who could read, started to challenge the power of the church and question whether or not it was true or just a belief.

Another event related to the print industry which occurred during 1500s was when America was discovered for trading with the Far East for colonisation. This was also the time when images and even scientific drawings could be printed as well as the written language itself. This also included maps. Before maps were printed in this time, people used to carve them out on to copper and wax was applied to prevent them from running or becoming unreadable. But they were able to be printed along with images and other drawings.

It wasn’t until the 1600s until newspapers started to originate and the oldest newspaper to exists is ‘The Oxford Gazette’ (which came about in the 1690s. from the late 1600 to roughly the 1700s, the empires came into existence.


This afternoon, we have also looked at and tested our understanding on our grammar and punctuation skills but also the importance of having these skills in order to master them and produce ‘professional-standard’ writing.

Firstly, becoming a professional writer doesn’t just mean writing outstanding pieces of work. It also requires a great number of skills to ensure that gramma, punctuation is perfect and that the sentence makes sense as a whole. This is what we investigated today when we did some sentence exercises in class. What happened was we were given a sentence with no punctuation an grammar errors in it too. And out task was to write out the sentence and then write it out again but with all the correct punctuation and grammar. the sentence was:

“a woman without her man is nothing.”

This was the correct version of it which i wrote: “A woman; without her man is nothing.”

However, we found out that just by using different forms of punctuation in different places turns the whole meaning of the sentence around. For example, another student re-wrote it as, “A woman; without her man, is nothing.” This turned a whole new turn to the meaning of the sentence and this was something I will definitely consider when creating my written pieces in the future. We also completed some more exercises based on different sentences. We were given the number of grammar errors there were in each and we had to re-write them (just like before) and count up the number of changes we made to see if we got not only all the errors correct but to see if our skills were as good as we thought they were.

After that one, we were given more sentences with grammar and punctuational errors in them. Here, the first sentence is the one we were given to correct. The one after that is is the one I corrected with all the correct punctuation and grammar applied.

  1. charles dickens wrote a tale of two cities little dorrit a christmas carol and bleak house among others

(My answer)- Charles Dickens wrote: ‘A Tale of Two Cities‘, ‘Little Dorrit‘, ‘a Christmas Carol and ‘Bleak House among others.

2) i took five items my jacket a fishing rod a peanut-butter sandwich some cadburys chocolate and a pen knife.

(My answer)- I took five items: my jacket, a fishing rod, a peanut-butter sandwich, some Cadburys chocolate and a pen knife.

3) the guests arrived early lady posonby in diamons and a white fur coat lord brabourne with a glamorous girl on each arm mr corruthers with half the contents of a bottle of whisky already under his belt and the honorable miss hilly flower in a very short very shiny dress

(My answer)- The guests arrived early: Lady Posonby in diamonds and a fur white coat, Lord Brabourne with a glamorous girl on each arm, Mr Carruthers with half the contents of a bottle of whisky already under his belt and the honourable Miss Hilly Flower in a very short, very shiny dress.

4) mr montague was running late he called me and said im sorry ive been caught behind traffic i will be there soon

(My answer)- Mr Montague was running late. He called me and said: “I’m so sorry, I’ve been caught in traffic. I will be there soon.”

5) his words echoed in my head to unto others only good

(My answer)- His words echoed in my head: “do unto others only good.”

6) the mediterranean se is a favorite holiday destination for british tourists

(My answer)- The Mediterranean Sea is a favourite holiday destination for British tourists.


After that we looked at the defenition and evaluated our understanding on the importance of an ‘active’ and first 25 words to an article or headline actually means.

For an article to be ‘active’ it means that the headline or first paragraph, sentence to it has verbs and phrases that symbolise action. The whole point of this ‘active’ headline or paragraph is to almost summaried the whole story in or less than 25 words; almost no article that exists will have a headline, subheadline or opening paragraph that is more than 25 words. We also found out that there are three main elements that appear in almost every news headline and.or paragraph. These include: What- What the point of the report is or what is happening; Where- Where this report took place; Time- the time in which the events in the report occured.

We looked at an example from the BBC website which looked at the terrorist massacre which took place last Friday:

Paris attacks: Hollande says ‘France is at war’

16 November 2015 Last updated at 15:49 GMT

‘French President Francois Hollande has described Friday’s attacks in Paris as “an act of war” committed by Islamic State militants.’


This headline is a good example of being active because it summarises the whole point of the article in only eight words. But alongside this, the first paragraph is an excellent active example because it contains all the three elements I said any active headline or paragraph should contain: It also summaries the report in 20 words, it states the ‘what’ (‘described… as “an act of war”) the ‘where’ (‘attacks in Paris’) and the ‘time’ (‘Friday’s attacks).No only does an active headline and paragraph like this or any in fact make it more convenient to save time and space but it may also be handy for the reader as it is put into an easier language to understand.


Week 9- News Writing Introduction: Grammar, punctuation and 25 words.

One thought on “Week 9- News Writing Introduction: Grammar, punctuation and 25 words.

  1. tomrowse says:

    Very good, Grace. It is over the course of these sessions looking at print and writing that you feel to have come into your own and made some leaps forward – having spent a couple of months writing blog posts, by this point you have settled on a style and your written work features fewer mistakes. Content-wise this is an astute and well-reasoned blog post, and representative of your perception and enthusiasm.


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