Tool for journalists: Hemingway, for better writing
A text editor featuring Markdown formatting and a focus on "bold, clear writing"
What is it? Writing editor for highlighting text errors and problematical paragraphs.
How is it of use to journalists? Speedy writing is essential when working to deadline. Using Hemingway, you can copy and paste or write stories directly into a text editor, then click the 'edit' button to see where you can improve your writing.
The colour co-ordinated highlighting makes it easy to see at a glance where problem areas lie – for example, red for hard to read sentences, blue for adverbs, green for passive voice.
It also shows where there is a simpler alternative to a word you've used, such as "use" instead of "utilise". If you click these words, highlighted in purple, you will see the word Hemingway suggests you use instead.
As well as a word count, the editor displays a readability grade which shows the (US) education level required to understand your text. Hemingway recommends a grade of less than 10 for "bold, clear writing".
You can also use Hemingway offline, which is handy if you're travelling or in an area where Wi-Fi is poor.
Screenshot from Hemingwayapp.com
Of course, any journalist worth their salt should be able to judge whether their writing is clear and accurate. It's worth noting that Hemingway, like its namesake, does tend to skew towards short, strong sentences.
On the other hand, every little helps to improve accuracy, especially when you're hurtling towards a deadline.
And for journalists working remotely or independently, such as freelancers, it's useful to have Hemingway on hand to 'sub' your stories before you hit publish.
Hemingway launched last year, but recently launched a new beta app which allows users to write in Markdown, a simple markup language for headings, bold, italics and other text formats online.
A split screen shows the plain Markdown text opposite a rich text story view, so you can preview any changes you make, and there's also the option to open and save stories in .text or .md formats.
This is a handy feature if you prefer to work in a text editor before pasting stories into your blog or website.
So how does Hemingway stack up against Grammarly, another popular writing tool?
Unlike Grammarly, Hemingway is not a browser application, so it cannot check writing on other platforms such as email without you first copy-and-pasting into the text editor.
If a key consideration is price, however, Hemingway costs a one-off $6.99 (£4.43) compared to $29.99 (£19.08) a month for Grammarly Pro.
All in all it's a great tool for helping you – as Hemingway once famously advised Fitzgerald – to "write as straight as you can".
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