Many golden rules in journalism are useful to adopt in business writing. For example, never assume anything. Why?
Don’t assume that your readers will know your subject as well as you. Explain. Don’t use a piece of information without questioning it just because it appears to have come from a respectable source.
Double-check and if in doubt, leave it out. Go with your gut feeling.
If there is time, have someone read your report or email before you send it. A second pair of eyes can spot errors that you may be unable to see because you have been staring at the text so long. This is common practice among journalists.
Check all URLs by calling them up. A hyperlink that’s wrong or doesn’t work is bound to annoy the reader.
Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Many websites show little commitment to accuracy.
Someone sent me a draft for a website to proof-read the other day. It was for a tourist website about Indian culture and one photo showed an incredibly complex temple that I knew had been built less than a thousand years ago.
But the caption said the temple was “over 5,000 years old”, which was impossible, not least given its richly decorated facade.
I told the authors the caption was inaccurate and asked where they got the figure from.
“We took it off the Internet,” one said.
I welcome your comments.