How to write at the university level

In the ever-shrinking globalized world, questions are being asked about what constitutes good writing in the different contexts and audiences for which we write. It is more important than ever to take into consideration the languages and sensibilities of the end reader, and to pay attention to the vernacular and common usage of words specific to a particular society or culture. The context in which a publication will be read and used is of paramount importance. There is nothing worse than having your words taken out of context, or even creating chaos and misunderstanding.


Good writing is a ticket to professional opportunity. It is considered a necessary skill for hiring and promotion among a broad range of industries. This is obvious even before a person gets hired, in fact. The poorly-written resume is worse than no resume at all. A poorly written job application is destined for the garbage can. In the United States alone, employers spend vast sums of money correcting the writing skills of their current and potential employees. In order to be a good writer, students of any age need feedback, sounding boards, and other people to coach and guide them while they compose, but if they don’t possess the foundation of good grammar, spelling and the fundamentals of composition (skills typically learned before graduating from high school), the road to success will be rough.

Writing at the university level is significantly different from the writing done in high school. Learning to communicate effectively and write in a concise, clear manner is extremely important for securing and advancing past the entry level of a job. It goes without saying that anyone continuing their education at the graduate level must be accomplished writers in at least their native language, if not more, depending on their discipline of study.

The effort of expression has a bearing not only on the form but on the thought and on the whole inner being of a person, and this skill in particular has an effect and influence on every part of a person’s life. Some people might think that it is ironic, but the mark of a good written work is that it is simple. Simple in ideas expressed, simple in the choice of prose, and simple to understand. The best way to describe this is to say that the best way to write is to write as we would translate. When we translate a text written in a foreign language, we do not seek to add anything to it; on the contrary, we are scrupulously careful not to add anything to it.

The Evolution of Publishing

Before books there were cave drawings, then there were scrolls. Books have held the top spot in the Publishing realm for many, many years – centuries even, but the times they are a changing. For the longest time book publishing remained probably the least digitized of publishing industries, and it has remained successful until now. The tide is turning and digital technology is taking its toll. The book publishing industry is making changes but it has not been quick to react, and the numbers are beginning to tell. The industry is now beginning to explore the many opportunities that the web and digital formats are offering, in terms of promotion, sales and distribution, but the industry has to play catch up.


Despite some modestly positive trends, the underlying basis for a successful future for the book publishing industry is changing. Reading rates are dropping for most demographics, and consumers are not spending on books like they used to. Digital publications is becoming the bright light of the written word, but this is a new media and it will take years to become as established and accepted as the printed word. EBooks and digital magazines are rapidly gaining a foothold in the industry, both substituting for and augmenting print sales.

Much more interesting to consider is the impact of the Internet on the creation, marketing, distribution and sale of books. The Internet is having an enormous impact on the future of book publishing, in the creation, marketing, distribution and sales sectors, and the effect is both positive and negative.

Other technological advances that pertain to book publishing include, print-on-demand, digital scanning and the conversion of printed books into various other electronic formats. Each of these is playing a part in securing the future of the written word, although in formats that would be unrecognizable to readers of bygone eras. Technology does not necessarily have to be destructive for book publishers; it can be a very positive force for change.

Magazine editor ins and outs

The Magazine Editor is one of the most visible and public of the media professions.


Magazine editors are very involved with the writing and actual content of a magazine or other type of publication. Depending on the company they work for, some editors are more or less involved in writing, assigning stories and editing those stories. Magazine editors must be competent in all areas of journalism, and many begin their careers in media as journalists. Magazine editors are only as strong as their contacts. They need to have good relationships with many writers, journalists and photographers, whom they call upon when needed to complete assignments, etc.

Book editors and magazine editors do many of the same jobs, but there are some big differences. Magazines are dealing with current events and timely information on a continuing basis, while a book is a static piece which will remain the same once it is complete. Magazines are continually published and their content changes all the time. Magazine editors work on more stories but spend less time on each, and book editors work on many fewer publications but spend much longer working on each. In addition, magazine editors are often responsible for suggesting topics for publication and story ideas.

Stories and topics for magazines are either suggested by a writer, developed by the editor, or a combination of both, usually in an editorial meeting, where ideas are shared and developed by the editorial staff team. Group meetings allow people to share ideas and bounce around opinions to help create a finished piece. Newspapers work on daily deadlines, magazines usually work on weekly deadlines, and books take their own time, so the schedules of an editor depends on the format and media that they are working in. Breaking news and current events play a big part in news and magazine publishing, but less so for books.

Magazine Publishing

Magazine publishing and the newer use of digital properties, is a huge, growing market which caters to the needs of readers seeking information on every imaginable subject. Magazine publishing at its most basic is the process of production and dissemination of literature, music, technical data and anything else that one can conceivably share with others. In some cases, authors may be their own publishers, meaning: originators and developers of content who also provide the media required to deliver and display the content for the same. In other cases, authors just create content, leaving the publishing, marketing and distribution to one or more specialists in their fields.

Magazines can be divided into two main types – consumer (retail) magazines and trade magazines or publications. Consumer magazines typically deal with consumer products and services such as titles related to health, food, travel, fashion, cinema, music, gadgets, technology, etc. Trade publications usually cater to a specific industry, a niche market which consists mainly of professional readers specific to a particular trade.

Magazine publishing, whether digital or print, include many types of jobs, including both creative and technical positions. Both formats share some similar requirements, but there are also specialties specific to either print or digital environments. Editorial positions are the ones that come to mind first, and their job descriptions are very similar. The actual manufacture of a print publication is obviously completely different and much more cost and labor intensive than a digital product.

The magazine publishing business certainly faces some strong challenges as it transitions from print-only to print and digital, or in some cases digital-only formats. The competition is building and changing as technology evolves and new player join the game and others fail and fade away. A strategy focused on leveraging core strengths can help publishers to mitigate weakness and lessen any impact that new technological developments have on their core business. Some large, multi-brand publishers will do this well, organizing their magazines around core messages and audiences. Some will do it poorly and less profitably.

A key segment that must be addressed and strengthened is that of advertising revenue. There are now many more exciting ways to engage and keep readers, and they key is for publishers to work with advertisers to create ad campaigns that use the strengths and features of digital technology to engage new readers and keep current ones. Publishers need advertisers to survive, and vice-versa.