What Blankety-Blank Wrote That ?!?

Many years ago, my boss and friend Lee Hall hired a writer by the name of Mervin Block to look over several examples of writing produced by WSB News.   Block had been a writer for CBS News with Walter Cronkite, and a list of other top notch credentials.  

Many years ago, my boss and friend Lee Hall hired a writer by the name of Mervin Block to look over several examples of writing produced by WSB News.   Block had been a writer for CBS News with Walter Cronkite, and a list of other top notch credentials.  

His book, “Writing For Broadcast News” should be a mandatory read for communicators,  and it wouldn’t hurt to be a summer book list read for students from about 9th grade to college.  When I took over the news staff here in Knoxville, I ordered a copy of the book for each member of the team.

Perfection is the enemy of excellence.

Albert Einstein

We gathered in an auditorium at Emory University, as Mr. Block put example after example of our writing on an overhead projector.  He pulled no punches as he went from page-to-page, leveling a sharp editor’s eyes to what we thought was some pretty fair writing.

I’m no Mark Hemingway, or Ernest Twain, but I get by. And in my mind, I’d done a pretty good writing job on my recent copy. I thought “this is going to be easy for me, but some of my colleagues might suffer.”

Just when you think you’ve got the knack, someone comes along with an overhead projector

Dave Foulk, edite, edil…editor

I was enjoying the presentation, mainly because none of my copy had flipped onto to the screen.   Then, it was my turn in the bucket.  

There were very few nice things Mr. Block had to say about my copy.  Okay, he had nothing good to say.  

I spoke up with the only thing I could think of at the time: 

“Well, what dumb a#%@ wrote that one?”

Even Mr. Block grinned.   For about a nanosecond. 

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