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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

If you had to think up a six-word motto for journalism, what would it be?

Would you pick "Get it right, write it tight"? Or "Feed the watchdog, euthanise the lapdog"?

Maybe you would opt for "No news is not good news". Perhaps, in this technology-driven age, you would prefer "Who, what, when, where, why, Web" or "Got stry — will txt u asap".

These are just a few of the many "six-words mottos for journalism" that were submitted to Roy Peter Clark's contest. Clark, about whom I have written on this blog many times before, is an American journalist I have great admiration for. He is one of the pillars of the venerated Poynter Institute, and author of the hugely useful Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer (a copy is available in the Commits library).

Coming back to the six-word mottos, Clark's contest drew hundreds of entries, from which he created a list of finalists as well as a list of honourable mentions. You can go through both lists here: "Six-Word Journalism Mottos" (the contest was held a while back but I came across the link in my "must-read" file very recently).

And if you want to know who won the contest, go to this post for the complete results, "voting scandal" and all: "Poynter Online now acknowledges that it goofed last Friday by choosing finalists for the six-word motto contest before the deadline for applications had been reached."

PS: If the contest were to be held today, this motto would be my entry:
Engage, entertain, enlighten. Do not frighten.