Spare Me The Build Up – Start with the Point

Posted on May 2, 2012

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Your listeners are begging you!
(photo from Stickyspy.com)

Earlier today, I saw that my friend, and former Q101 co-worker, Alex Quigley had posted a deadspin.com storywith this headline on his Facebook page, “Is An ESPN Columnist Scamming People on the Internet?”

Being completely self-absorbed, I thought it might have something to do with the robo-journalism post I wrote last week; maybe someone had discovered ESPN was using computer generated content.

When I clicked on headline it turned out to be something else entirely; a relatively interesting story about a woman named Sarah Phillips who went from obscure gambler commenting on a Web site about sports betting to ESPN columnist in a ridiculously short period of time and who, as it turns out, is a con artist.

At least I think that’s what it’s about.

I’m not sure because the article starts with the premise that this person may or may not be a scammer and proceeds to detail every nuance of the this person’s history over the course of nearly 5500 words.

To put that in context, this post is at around 200 words right now and I bet you are already getting bored.

So I’ll keep the rest of this post short, sharing two quick observations:

1) Edit Yourself: Whether you are writing a blog post or opening the mic for a break, know what you want to communicate and cut out the extraneous parts. Your audience will appreciate it.

2) Get to the Point: Most great newspaper articles (and on-air breaks) start with the conclusion and then they work backwards to fill in details from most to least important. I might have read that whole article if the beginning had grabbed my attention and been followed by the most interesting facts instead of forcing me to wade through a 5500 word chronology just to find out this person has been let go by ESPN.

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