Writing is a skill with many different genres. In the case of writing an article for the Times Newspaper and academic writing, they both differ in their objectives and in the audience they cater to. Newspaper articles cater to a very heterogeneous audience, and hence it is best written in an informal matter. On the other hand, academic writing is aimed at students, scholars and researchers, and hence it is to be written in a formal manner adhering to certain norms and standards.
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Thus, while writing for the newspapers means writing for the majority, academic writing is for the learned and scientific minority. The very nature of academic writing requires the writer to explore deeper underlying principles, theories and concepts, whereas the very nature of newspaper article writing requires that the reader is practically oriented or socially oriented (MU, 2008). Apart from these differences, there are also some others that differentiate academic writing from newspaper writing.
The most obvious differences are: Academic writing should never be personal writing and should stick to topics within the framework of the subject. There are no such boundaries in the case of newspaper articles. One can write about any topic for newspapers as long as it is interesting. Again, in writing newspaper articles, it is possible to include personal judgments and evaluations, which may be measured by your feelings and thoughts. This is not allowed in academic writing, where the focus is on facts backed by data.
Newspaper articles are limited by the number of words but do not have the need to stick to a particular structure, punctuation or grammar. It is typically informal, and hence it is perfectly acceptable to deploy colloquialisms, casual expressions, and abbreviations, like “that’s cool”, “by the way…” etc. To write for newspapers, it is not necessary to have a college or university education (Waters and Devlin, 2008). One must be able to write and express in a natural manner. While newspaper articles are generally written in a casual tone with lots of colourful dialogues, descriptions and quotations, academic writing is written more formally on a scientific template that allows it to include vast literature review, experimental data, and observations by researchers and findings based on scientific measures.
Academic writing needs a kind of structure such as a beginning, middle, and end or introduction, body and conclusion (MU, 2008). This simple structure is typical of an essay format, as well as other assignment writing tasks, which may not have a clearly articulated structure (MU, 2008). Academic writing in English is linear, which means it has one central point or theme and every part contributes to the mainline of argument without digressions or repetitions (Gillett, 2008). Its objective is to inform rather than entertain. As well as this, it is in the standard written form of the language. There are six main features of academic writing: complex, formal, objective, explicit, hedged, and responsible (Gillett, 2008).
The differences between writing articles for newspapers and academic writing may be studied under these six heads. In academic writing, it is important to use written language. Such language is characterized by longer words, greater vocabulary and more grammatical complexity compared to spoken language. In the case of newspaper article writing, spoken language may be used, which is fairly simple and easily comprehensible. Academic writing is relatively formal and does not allow the use of colloquial words and expressions. Moreover, the style of writing is more objective in academic writing, the main emphasis being on the information that is being presented and the arguments.
Newspaper writing needs to be entertaining, and hence informal style is best. In academic writing, it is the responsibility of the writer to make clear to the reader the various relationships in the text (Gillett, 2008). Abstract forms and their component parts must be described and their links to other abstract forms, as well as where they are positioned in relation to a general, overall system. This is not so in newspaper writing, where the writer can adopt a casual structure in the article. In academic writing, it is necessary to make decisions about one’s stance on a particular subject or the strength of the claims one is making.
On the other hand, in newspapers, it is possible to write personal opinions and general feelings that are not backed by data, and also, it is possible to write open-ended articles that do not take any particular stance on an issue. In academic writing, it is absolutely necessary to provide evidence and justification for any claims that are made. Citing the work of other authors is central to academic writing because it indicates that the writer has read the literature, understood the ideas, and has integrated these issues and varying perspectives into the assignment task (Waters and Devlin, 2008). Newspaper writing makes no such demands.
Thus, academic writing is considered more valid and reliable, though difficult to read and understand.
Gillett, Andy (2008). Using English for Academic Purposes: Features of Academic writing. Web.
MU (Massey University) (2008). Some Differences between Academic Writing and Other Writing Contexts. Web.
Waters, Theodore and Devlin, Joseph (2008). Writing for Newspapers. Web.