Since starting in broadcasting in 1968, I’ve always been a word freak. Word can express more than pictures ever can. Why? Because with a picture, you are limited to what is actual on the screen or paper. You have none of the ideas that are behind the picture or no knowledge of what happened to the scene the moment after the picture was taken. Words are not like that. They have multiple meanings that can be as nuanced as you want them to be. They can also communicate entire volumes of shared experience or triggered memories. For example, the slogan, “if you see something, say something,” was designed and broadcast until it was a part of our shared existence. It connotes the deaths of 3,000 people in the World Trade Center attack.
It makes us remember where we were and with whom. It brings to our minds the concrete dust on the police and the firefighters. It makes us think about the cross made from building girders. There are hundreds of examples from advertising that we could site. For example, Tide detergent has been “new & improved” nearly 50 times so we buy the latest “improvement.” “Islamic terrorist” retrieves from our mind images of people dead in the streets in Paris, beheadings by Isis and TV scenes of death and destruction at Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon pressure cooker bombs and other gruesome scenes. Of course, words are symbols for pleasant things like children and people in love and babies. Regardless of the words used, they should be crafted with care. If used with a picture, they should embellish and explain the importance of the scene. Some people think that “any old words” will do. As a writer for radio, TV, internet, books, stories, and lots of company or ministry materials involved in branding or explanation of the mission of the organize, only the right words will do. That’s what I write. That’s what you need.