CHAPTER 50WRITING FOR YOUR AUDIENCE MATTERS MORE THAN EVER

George HarmonProfessor Emeritus, Medill School of JournalismNorthwestern University

Earthquakes brought death and destruction to thousands of Japanese, and so an American comedian decided to use Twitter to poke fun at Japan.

In a twinkling, he lost a lucrative gig as the voice of an insurance commercial.

Insensitive jokes that might have worked late at night amid an audience of inebriated Americans fell flat in the sober light of tragedy.

Exit a big paycheck. It flew away in the writing. (Or maybe the self-editing.)

And nearly every week, now that we’re all publishers without editors, we see the career of another prominent person destroyed by his own writing.

Big message: writing matters ...

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