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Make sure e-mail complete

I was joking with another staff member yesterday as I forwarded her a third e-mail relating to a possible story in the paper.

Because the topic could have been handled with one e-mail, I commented that this one might be a record for the number of e-mails it takes to get all the information.

This morning e-mail number four was in my inbox. Should I give up counting yet?

When I was learning how to write many years ago, the mantra was always, “Who, what, when, where, why and sometimes how.”

Make sure you cover all the facts. Learn how to write a lead sentence as a journalist and write in inverted pyramid style and you are set.

With e-mail it is sometimes too easy to hit the send key before you have really made sure you have covered all your bases.

I get e-mails saying, “I am a subscriber.” OK,. To what? There are five numismatic titles here and my e-mail is not exclusively Numismatic News.

“Please send me a free copy.” Never mind that I am not the circulation department, but often no addresses are included.

“I have a question.” Well, that isn’t helpful when the question isn’t included in the e-mail. Please state it even if you have sent the same inquiry to three or four other people in this building and you don’t know who should get it.

There are other things, but this is enough to give you an idea of my e-mail. E-mail is a wonderful thing, but it has not endowed me or any other recipients with the gift of mind reading. Make sure the ones you send are complete.

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