I understand what you’re saying, Dylan. I had concerns with how I expressed that particular part myself, but for some reason wimped out and didn’t say what I thought.
I’ve since replaced the phrase “Some people do fine writing the whole piece, figuring out what it’s about and then completely re-writing it. ” with what you see above.
I was actually just trying to get in the idea that some people write to understand, but when they do that, it’s quite a distinct process from the drafting of the actual story. Sometimes some of the words hang around, but that is more luck in finding the write words in that learning process rather than an active expression of the intent of the story.
David: I’ve told my staff — as well as the grad students I’ve taught –for the last three decades that until they can write the guts of their story on a Post-It note (or something equivalently small), they don’t understand the story enough to write it. I still swear by that advice as far as reporting research news is concerned. When I was doing magazine pieces, that rule often was bent, but that’s different. When it comes to news, per se, the lede is everything, and it ought to come first. Well, it should as far as I’m concerned.
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