It's all about the STORY!

Posts tagged ‘facts’

Report Writing — 7 Tips

How to write an outstanding report — 7 tips — (Business not academic)

1) Know your audience(s)– if your report will only be seen by industry pros, do use appropriate industry-specific jargon. This will ensure clarity amongminorityreport your peers and a level of comfort and credibility will be bestowed to you because you are speaking the same language. However, if this is going out to other audiences who may be unfamiliar with your industry jargon (e.g. B2C marketing, stockholders/investors, etc.), kill the jargon and just tell the story.

2) Visuals are important– use charts, graphs and other descriptive images, but do make certain that these images directly correlate to the text, and make sure that the text you are referencing is nearby in the layout. Do not use images in place of text.

3) Words are part of your layout and design– love the text as much as the pretty pictures. Remember that visual balance is important, so don’t leave a lonely word hanging on one line or just a few sentences lingering on the final page. Make certain your text looks as good as it reads. Edit… which brings us to the next point…

4) Editing– I recommend putting everything including the kitchen sink into your first draft. That way, everything you might possibly need is there. You won’t have to look for it later when you decide that a particular piece of data or quote or whatever would be the greatest thing right now. Edit for content first, eloquence second, grammar and punctuation third and then the ever-present character count if needed. Subtract, tighten, refine, polish and delete your way to the final draft.

5) Organization and flow– Put first things first. It’s helpful, though not always necessary, to create an outline. If you’re having difficulty with organizing your report, ask yourself simple questions: What would I, as a reader, want to know first? Second, once I know that, what is the next question I want answered? Continue following this thought-pattern until all of your content for your report has been addressed.

6) Details count– added details will help your readers follow your content and add aesthetics to your report. These details might include a table of contents, text boxes that highlight quotes or facts/statistics, page numbers and references. If your report will be distributed and/or accessed electronically, consider providing an interactive table of contents and hyperlinks within texts and photos as appropriate.

7) Software– if you’re lucky, you can create the report in a professional Adobe InDesign or cloud program. However, many professionals are lucky if they even have an updated version of MS Word. It’s best if your end product is a PDF regardless of what software you used to create it. Not only will this elevate most problems with diverse software accessibility from your readers’ perspectives, but this also will help maintain the integrity of your content—not allowing it to be manipulated easily.

*BONUS– Have fun! Reports need not be stuffy. The most engaging, well-written and useful reports are generated by people who enjoy writing them. Use accurate data and statistics, collect accurate facts and quotes—this is most important. Next, enjoy the process of telling the story about the data, statistics, facts and quotes. The choice is yours—miserable people create miserable reports.

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Murder and guns in America today–would amending the US gun law reduce murder rates?

First, here are some interesting statistics about murders from a global perspective. Most people are aware that the United Kingdom has outlawed guns (for most citizens). What’s the correlation between that and murders? Well, in the USA, which proudly upholds its government’s Second Amendment, in one year there were 15,241 murders (2009) – that’s 5 murders per 1,000 people (RPT).

In the UK, 724 murders were calculated in one year with an RPT of 1.2. I’d say that’s a significant correlative difference. Did the difference in gun laws “cause” the problem – I’m not sure. Let’s look at more numbers…

The country that reported the highest number of murders in one year was Brazil at 43,909 with a RPT of 22.7. Falling just behind Brazil in number of murders is India with 40,752 reported but with a RPT of only 3.4 because of the incredibly dense population of the country.

Now, examining the significance or RPT, check out Honduras, reporting 6,239 murders in one year but with an RPT of 82.1!!! El Salvador reported 4.085 murders in a year with an RPT of 66!

Data comes from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDC). As you can imagine, the United Nations explains that it is somewhat difficult comparing these statistics accurately. Nations have different views on what constitutes murder, they report on different years, reporting methods differ, etc. However, this data does paint what I think is a fascinating picture.

It seems that developed nations have fewer murders (rate per thousand – RPT) than non-developed nations. And about those guns…

I still want to point out that there is strong correlative evidence that suggests having a loose gun law in a nation (e.g. USA) leads to increased murders as opposed to a nation with far stricter gun laws (United Kingdom). Still, there is more going on here. America is unique because of it dense and mostly developed sprawl. If you look at data maps, most murders occur in cities that are heavily populated with poverty, gangs and drug trafficking.

Therefore, if the US enacted heavier gun control laws or even outlawed guns for most citizens, the argument that many gun rights activists use, “only criminals will have guns,” could very well come to pass. I question if heavier gun laws would have a great impact on people who are career criminals–a sociological construct that already exists without much indication that we have a solution to curb this activity. If this is so, they won’t get rid of their guns, and they will continue obtaining guns from other criminals. These are groups that already, as a rule, operate outside of laws. The only regard they have for law is that it dictates to them that which they must keep hidden, as hidden as possible to try to not get caught.

How does all of this relate to the Colorado shooting? It doesn’t. When a society looks for solutions to reduce murders, by rule it has to eliminate anomalous causation. A psycho on a shooting spree in a movie theater is not a common profile for murders in America. Therefore, an act like this isn’t successfully addressed through policy or law. Most likely people around this individual ignored warning signs that he was a sociopath with homicidal tendencies that turned wrong — way wrong. But hey, what the hell do I know. I’m just a writer here, tapping out letters… What do YOU think?

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