By Steve Werblow, AAEA Freelancer
We’ve all been there—staring at the screen with a whole lot of story to tell and a little space to tell it in.
Frustrated by that challenge one bleak day, I had a thought that rocked me like a hurricane. Taylor Swift could tell a charming love story in 375 words. Billy Joel’s characters from “Piano Man” were still in my head, decades after he sat them together in a smoky bar for a three-minute song. What was I complaining about?
It’s tough to pack a lot of story into a small space, but songwriters do it all the time.
Pulling in the audience with a great lead, structuring narrative in all sorts of interesting ways, and drawing rich images for their audiences, good songwriters can be outstanding models for journalists looking for ways to add style to their stories. And with the creative use of voice, rhythm and wordplay, they can make their writing stick in listeners’ heads…often for years.
In Rock On! at Ag Media Summit, we’ll explore the work of top songwriters—from rockers to rappers to country crooners—for examples of great writing, clever tricks, and a new look at how we can hone our own craft. We’ll tie those to samples of ag journalism and find inspiration to write better, tackle our stories in new ways, and even marvel at some music-biz PR tricks.
Whether you’re a novice writer or an experienced hand seeking inspiration, Rock On! will get your toes tapping and your mind humming…and help you make your copy sing.
Steve Werblow, an Oregon freelancer and contributing editor to The Furrow, is an AAEA Master Writer and was named 2011 AAEA Writer of the Year. Over the past three decades, he has been honored with awards from AAEA, LPC and NAMA. A life-long music fan, Steve realized early that he couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, so he focused on mastering the stereo.