Last week we talked a little bit about broadening and building your writing. But at the same time, you need to keep it short and to the point. So how do you do this? The secret is addendums (easily remembered as add end ums - the ums you’ll add at the end of your writing) the items you add to a piece of writing.
Why we use them
The only time you would really use an addendum is when you’re writing things like business reports, agendas or minutes of a meeting – so if you’re running a committee meeting at school. But not so fast; you can also use them in your journalism writing. We just give them slightly different names. We call them side bars.
Along with the idea of keeping our writing as brief as possible, we put all the supporting documents, figures and reports at the end, under the heading Addendums. And we number them clearly. For instance in writing the minutes of a meeting about entertainment at a school function you would write:
2.1 Transport costs were discussed. A budget was submitted by the secretary (Addendum 2).
You don’t have to put in the whole budget right there. You clip it on to the end of your minutes.
Our junior reporters often realise that when they start to dig into an issue, it’s not as simple as they first thought. Nothing ever is. Stories have facets that we call “angles” and sometimes it can be really difficult to stick to one specific angle. Or, while looking for a story, they stumble across a facet they didn’t think about but feel is also worth writing about. This facet becomes a semi-separate story called a sidebar.
If you are writing, for instance, about a city trip where you went down a coal mine, you can briefly mention the coal mine in the main piece. Then you could write a separate story about the coal mine itself, or something you found especially interesting about it. If you are in to reporting, though, don’t let your reportage stop there. You need to be thinking about how else you can tell the story, how you would like to get that information. Think like a reader.