OPINION: KISS this – Journalism writing constrains creativity


Jacob L'Hommedieu

Student writes on flaming paper that has been kissed. KISS is a system of writing used by journalists to not overcomplicate a story.

Abigail Schmidt, Sports Editor

In journalism school, the first thing they teach you is how to kiss. Let me rephrase that: the first thing they teach you is KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid.
First, let me start by saying: I am a journalist. But before that, and I’m sure most journalists will agree with this sentiment: I am a writer. I am a writer who, as most writers will also agree, loves words (the word for that is logophile!). And I believe that KISSing your articles, papers, essays, what have you, is just a way of kissing your personality goodbye. KISS is a tired, trite trope that was stolen from a show who stole it from a movie who stole it from a spy plane engineer, or something.
So, without further ado, KISS this, journalism professors. I am going to use the most flowery, mellifluous, Hawthornesque jargon I know because I am the smartest in the room and all you backwoods simpletons and newsroom slugs are gonna know it. I didn’t spend twelve plus years learning the biggest words my tied tongue could handle just to barf out a fill-in-the-blank email.
Yes, I am happy to do my job and get my degree. I love talking to people and writing down what they have to say. I love what I do, and I want to do it forever! But sometimes I wanna know more than just what you are looking forward to about this upcoming sports season! Tell me everything about your dog and why you hate mushrooms! Tell me about all your favorite songs and what your dream concert would be!
Reading my scratch should be a vibrational noise in your corneas. It has a 4/4 time signature and erratic cymbals and symbols with some weird screaming echo that I probably pirated by accident. Why does it have to be so simple, stupid? Sure, it makes it easier to read. But where is the fun in that? Unless I am reporting something to you that is so urgent that it needs to be heard ASAP, but thankfully that is why I work in print. But don’t get me wrong, I love hearing myself talk, just to read my own writing, though.
I want to give you all literary vertigo so feverishly intense you will be hungover after a single article. A paragraph. A sentence.
So get the Pedialyte, the Listerine, the Dramamine, and your reading glasses- or maybe you’ll wanna take them off- and sit down and watch me vomit my entire vocabulary onto a page.
And don’t worry, I will seal it with more than a kiss.