I’m sitting here listening to Tom Brokaw on MSNBC. I haven’t seen him since Russert died. I’m glad he’s back on TV, but I’m pretty sure this is a special piece he’s helped to put together. This particular piece deals with baby boomers. So far, he’s covered Woodstock and the Civil Rights Movement. Brokaw is such a talented craftsman. I’ve always thought so. Perhaps for the first time though, I’m actually analyzing his statements. I don’t mean I’m picking apart his story. I’m listening to how he writes. How he speaks. Can you hear it?
Brokaw’s always had a bit of an accent. I know this all too well, because I do too. His sentences are short. They are simple. They are powerful, despite the choice to use fewer words. It reminds me of the instructions from my high school teacher, Mrs. Shumake: “OMIT NEEDLESS WORDS.”
I don’t do it often enough. I’m too busy trying to show off I guess.
What Mrs. Shumake was trying to tell us in that classroom, and what Brokaw is good at—
We don’t need a long string of 5 dollar words to get our point across. When a few will do, then we should use a few.
On another note to the few customers I have here on this column… I’m not the anchor over at KXII-TV any more. I posted a brief piece about it over on the facebook fan page last week. No, there’s nothing to worry about. It was time to go and I did. I’ll keep you posted on the next chapter. Maybe I’ll write more short sentences in these spaces more often. That is, as long as I leave out the extra words.