The Medium Massages the Messages.
Long ago I was writing one newspaper column every other week and two radio talks every week.
I soon realized that though I could write about the same topic for radio & for the newspaper, I could not air a newspaper column nor could I publish a radio talk.
One obvious difference is length. Radio audiences can barely pay attention for three minutes; I deliberately kept my radio talks short. But there are other differences between the two mediums.
Because radio talks are not printed, a listener cant go back & reread. If he missed something, he could be lost -- so I increased what my wife says I already do too much of: I repeated points -- and repeated them again. Often, at the end, I summed up what some of you might think does not need summing up.
I never used big words, difficult words. Keep it simple, stupid -- the motto of the Israeli Army was my motto. My radio talks hardly ever dealt with more than one idea.
The Medium does Massage the Message, but I never talked down to my audience. These are not talks for the stupid, but they are, in some ways, simplified to meet the demands of the medium: words in the ether -- here this second, gone the next.
P.S. My radio talks never had titles, so the titles, made-up for this web site, might not seem appropriate. Since these are all essays to be spoken, not read, there may also be more spelling errors, more dashes, than one would expect to see in a written talk.
Copyright © 2004 Henry Morgenstein
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