Category Archives: News

Currencies

Write amounts the way they are spoken, as in “three hundred thousand dollars …” instead of “$300,000 …” or “$three hundred thousand …”. See Numbers for more information on how to write figures.

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Punctuation

Commas are used within a sentence to separate simple items in a list but not between the last two items when they are separated by “and”.

One, two, three and four times.

Bob, Lesley, Shannon and I went.

First, last and always.

For lists of phrases which have internal commas use semi colons instead of commas to divide each item.

Over the years the team colours have been red, blue and green; white and black; and yellow, purple and black.

Commas are used in a sentence to separate a phrase or clause and can indicate the normal word order of the sentence has been altered.

This, he said, would ensure success.

For the first four years, all that could be done was wait.

At the base, 400 metres below, we waited anxiously.

Commas are used in a sentence to qualify or further describe a subject. If the description within the commas is left out, the sentence should still make sense.

Natasha Stott Despoja, previously the leader of the Australian Democrats, addressed this year’s candidates enthusiastically.

Team manager of the Geebung Gazelles, Jenny Smith, watched carefully as her squad trained for the last time.

More complex phrases or clauses which contain their own internal punctuation should be offset by long dashes rather than commas (these long dashes — em dashes — can be inserted using the Insert >>> Symbols function in some word processing software).

Jenny Smith — the self assured, tough team manager of the raw but eager Geebung Gazelles — watched her squad train.

Commas (,), colons (:), semi colons (;), full stops (.), hyphens (), exclamation marks (!) and question marks (?) should always abut the words or other punctuation marks they follow, that is, there should not be a space between these items and the words or punctuation they follow.

All but the hyphen () should have one space after them before the next word or sentence begins. Hyphens should not have spaces either side of them.

Long dashes ( ) have a single space on either side — thus! This distinguishes them from hyphens ().

An open bracket (round ( or square [) is preceded by one space. There is no space between the open bracket and the next letter or numeral. The close bracket (round ) or square ])runs straight after the previous word, numeral or full stop, with one space following the bracket (unless it is followed by a full stop).

Colons (: and ;) run flush up against the word they follow, but are themselves followed by a space and also a capitalised word.

Ellipses ( ) should be preceded and followed by a space, but there are no spaces between the dots.

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Simple words

It is essential to choose short, simple words for successful broadcasting and newswriting:

NO YES
abbreviate cut
accommodate hold/contain
alleviate ease
anticipate expect
approximately about
assist aid/help
circumvent avoid
commence begin/start
consequence result
construct build
currently now
deceased dead
difficult hard
disparity difference
donate give
due to because of
endeavour try
fatality death
frequently often
however but
immediately at once
inquire asked
intersection corner
in the near future soon
locate find
majority most
motorist driver
numerous many
obtain get
occur happen
passed away died
prior to before
proceed go
purchase buy
residence home
residue remainder/rest
respond answer
stated/added/indicated said
strive/attempt try
substantial big/large
sufficient enough
terminate end
utilise use

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Common style points

Print, radio, television and online journalism follow some common style points, such as the use of active language and an avoidance of clichés.

Each medium also has its own unique style points. Traditional print newswriting is always past tense and avoids the use of contractions. Broadcast favours the present tense more, and contractions are used as they would be in everyday spoken language.

What follows are some common style points with details on where the style can vary for different medium.

Style points unique to specific media are detailed much later along with a few notes to highlight where you will lose marks in assignments.

Remember, this is only a guide but you should have a good reason for not following any of the directions.

For guidelines on academic style, refer to the QUT publication The Written Assignment: A Guide to the Writing and Presentation of Assignments, or Petelin and Putnis’s Professional Communication: Principles and Applications. Both are available from the QUT bookshops.

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