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Writing and readability

Pia Savage points out in her comment on the previous post that the “score” in those readability tests comes most likely from the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test. This has been around since John Howard was in short pants; we learned about it, and similar measures, in Dip Ed in 1964, and they were venerable then. The grade level is calculated with the following formula:

flesch.png

Obviously one cannot “fail” such a test, nor is it in itself a good or bad thing to get a particular result as the test totally ignores both meaning and context. That is a serious failing. Nonetheless, it is a useful indicator of the likelihood of communicating effectively.

I am however something of a fan of the Plain Language movement. I spent a very profitable year in 1978 studying Language Variation and Stylistics with Professor R D Eagleson, one of the Australian gurus of that movement. I attach his Writing in Plain English.

Writing in Plain English (PDF)

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Posted by on November 15, 2007 in blogging, Observations, writing

 

Actually this pleases me…

high_school.jpg

I have filed the pic here instead of using their code, by the way, to avoid the dodgy ad that accompanies this. I am sure WordPress would not approve. Neither do I… I take much comfort in the fact John Baker’s blog gets the same rating. So do Eteraz and Man of Lettuce, while Yawning Bread scores “Junior High” and Courting Destiny is “Elementary School”! All these are blogs whose styles I admire.
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Posted by on November 14, 2007 in blogging, my sites, writing

 

Finished my journalism

Yesterday’s draft was acceptable to my editors. This morning I ran it by Mark Willacy himself and got some additional material and updates. He is now with The 7.30 Report*.

willacy

In conversation last year with Richard Fidler on Local ABC Queensland the following emerged:

Generally, those reporting on Middle East conflicts are encumbered with accusations of bias. Mark explains to Richard how he approached his assignments. He says, “I think what I’ve tried to do is show the impact of conflict on non-combatants, people who are drawn into the conflict. Whether it’s an Israeli going to work on a bus, or a Palestinian child on his way to school who gets hurt or killed for just doing what they’re doing. It’s something I’ve always tried to do is humanise this story, because people hear and their eyes glaze over and they think, ‘here we go more misery from the middle east’, and that’s a fair reaction so what you have to do is humanise the story.” Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2007 in Aussie interest, Current affairs, Israel, News and Current Affairs, Personal, writing

 

Homework done, blood test postponed

I have finished a pre-interview draft of my small feature article on Mark Willacy, and the editors are happy. 🙂 I needed to do that to shape my questions for tomorrow. The finished article is due Wednesday. This is my first piece of real journalism, as distinct from blogs, English teaching journals (long ago!) and little lit magazines (also long ago). Keeping to word limits and deadlines isn’t my style. The article itself will be embargoed until after the first week in November, but should appear online in another place around the second week in November.
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Posted by on October 22, 2007 in Personal, writing

 

Busy Redfern morning

Earlyish I went to the Redfern doctor because my last blood check showed above normal blood sugar, so next Monday I have to be checked out for diabetes as the reading was just within the diagnostic range. Mind you I had eaten a very sugary blueberry bagel not long before that test; we shall see.

The good news is the Logicol margarine has been working, along with the kangaroo sausages, so my cholesterol is acceptable at last.

I had fasted this morning just in case so I breakfasted after seeing the doc at Quirks just over the road — see pic. I should do this more often. It is quite delightful. I ate something very healthy.

While there I read about the latest polls. 😦 Can’t believe we are so impressed by men in raincoats offering boiled sweeties, or (as someone said on 702 last night) Big Brother restoring the chocolate ration. Then I rang Pan Macmillan and have set up an interview with Mark Willacy early next week. He will be at Politics in the Pub the day before the election: 6 pm to 7.45 Friday 23 November at the Gaelic Club, Level 1, 64 Devonshire St., Surry Hills (across from Chalmers St exit and Devonshire St tunnel at Central Station).

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Posted by on October 19, 2007 in Aussie interest, Cultural and other, Current affairs, Education, Personal, Reading, Surry Hills, writing

 

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This is interesting…

I’m not an avid science fiction or fantasy reader, but neither am I a hater of such work. While I had never heard of writer Darryl Sloan, therefore, I am sure many will have.

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Posted by on October 16, 2007 in blogging, Reading, writing

 

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This rather eclipses my gong…

… with no disrespect whatsoever to Kanani Fong’s welcome endorsement of my, um, fecundity — or lack of a life… 😉

courting.jpg

Pia Savage’s New York blog Courting Destiny, linked to that screen shot, really is quite remarkable. In this entry she quotes a “Courting classic”, which at least encourages me when I feel a recycle coming on: My Long Island Press Cover Story.

Blogging 101

A blog is, in effect, an online diary, or in Pia Savage’s case, an extended memoir. The term blog is a blend of web and log: web log, weblog, blog. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called blogging. Individual articles on a blog are called blog posts, posts or entries. A person who posts these entries is called a blogger. The term “weblog” was coined by veteran blogger Jorn Barger on Dec. 17, 1997 and the short form, “blog,” was coined by Peter Merholz, a former anthropologist and current blogger, in 1999.
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Posted by on September 21, 2007 in blogging, Cultural and other, Reading, writing

 

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