Last updated: July 18. 2013 1:52PM - 184 Views
Martha Sparks
Society Editor

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I plan to write three different columns each week for all of 2013.

There are guidelines I use every time I sit down to write. I carry two blank cards and a pen in my pocket so I may jot down any new idea that comes to my attention.

There are always in my office dictionaries and lexicons of various kinds, numerous books on how to write correctly and in a manner that will engage the reader’s attention. I attempt to use proper grammar, effective sentence structure and spell each word correctly.

The one classic book to which I often refer is small, 4x7, 92 pages, The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White. A must for very writer.

When I have written a column and sent it to the newspaper office, I know an editor, reviser, rewriter or copy editor will review it. These people are collectively what Elbert Hubbard defines as “A bit of sandpaper applied to all forms of originality.” I appreciate any extra polish given to my work.

There was a day when newspapers and magazines had “proof readers” who looked for the smallest mistake. That liberally used “blue pencil” meant you could count on newspaper accuracy.

It takes many well-trained people to put together a newspaper, magazine or book. We sometimes become annoyed by too much advertising in the newspaper. That is what makes it all possible. The price paid for subscriptions or copies does not even pay the cost for the ink or paper.

Some of my best friends work in newspaper offices. They are people I have known in many parts of the country. They have worked for small weekly newspapers, the large weeklies, and the small and the largest of the daily newspapers. They have had different assignments. Some are editors; others work in circulation and distribution, advertising, some write news, sports, obituaries, weather and others are cartoonists. Every newspaper has all these talented people and together they produce your favorite newspaper with the features you like best.

Please, do not ever imagine that newspapers are perfect. Just because you read it in the paper, does not make it true. If it is not true, it should never appear in the newspaper. Newspapers, radio, television, magazines, books all must be known for their accuracy. If they cannot be trusted, why must they exist?

On one occasion, I wrote a story that I thought was accurate and said exactly what I wanted it to say. When it appeared in the newspaper, it was a mess, totally unlike what I had written. I agreed with all those who did not like what I wrote. I did not like what had my name on it. It was taken out of context and scrambled like an egg.

Another splendid newspaper used my picture with my column, but at the end used five column lines telling readers how to reach a staff photographer.

It amazes me that so many people can be involved and still produce a readable and accurate newspaper every day. I give the newspaper and magazines I write for an A-plus every day. You are now reading one of the finest newspapers in your state and nation. Read every issue.

Examine James 4:1-17, for effective instruction about how to live the entire year of 2013 and underscore verse 15 that states, “Instead you ought to say, ‘if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that’.”

At least once each year, write a note or make a phone call to your newspaper and say a sincere, “thank you.” I’ll do my best to write one of your favorite columns each week.

© 2013 Wm. C. Ellis All Rights Reserved


Dr. William “Bill” Ellis of Scott Depot is a weekly syndicated columnist who writes on a wide variety of subjects. Ellis has spent 25 years as a radio and television broadcaster and as a guest speaker and teacher on college campuses.

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