Note: This is the third consecutive post by Abdullah in three days. Talk about regularity.
"President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt resigned his post and turned over all power to the military on Friday, ending his nearly 30 years of autocratic rule and bowing to a historic popular uprising that has transformed politics in Egypt and around the Arab world.?" (source)
The above is the opening sentence from a story by the New York Times. In journalism speak it's called the lead. Actually, it's a hard lead, owing to it's direct style that aims to quickly give the reader the most crucial pieces of information and gets him hooked for the rest of the story. What I am employing right now is a soft lead. I am taking my time to reel you in, slowly coming to the point of the story.
I am taking a course in Media Writing this semester. As the name suggests, it's aims to make journalists out of us - not just by teaching us how to write for Media but also other stuff like making a documentary. The instructor is reasonable good, though not great. However, what's great about it is that unlike courses on Fiction Writing that don't help you much beyond the world of story telling, this course teaches you the nuts and bolts of effectively reaching out to an audience, telling them what you need to tell them in the best possible way. Incidentally, I am now in the nut-graph part of my post.
It's very important, to master the art of communication. One of my (our?) heroes Feynman was called "The Great Explainer" because he was so good at teaching. His books and lectures are famous for that very reason. They explain things so simply yet in so deep a manner, that you fully understand the topic. His renowned book QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter, written for the layman with no knowledge of mathematics, is frequently a part of graduate physics courses. The reason: He simplifies things to the simplest possible level, but not anymore. That is why the intuitions that he forms in our heads are the right ones. A piece of advice from him that I quoted yesterday, " "Don't say 'reflected acoustic wave.' Say [echo]." Or, "Forget all that 'local minima' stuff. Just say there's a bubble caught in the crystal and you have to shake it out." Nothing made him angrier than making something simple sound complicated."
That is the goal. That was half the goal when I tried to explain about falling bodies. If you are into the same, trying to learn how to talk to people so they understand you, how to teach them when you have to teach them, then Media Writing is a course you should consider when it is offered in your university. Though perhaps you should wait around for my review of the course once I am done with it.