The Press: Say It Simply

Newspapers complained that too many of the stories they got from the Associated Press were wooden and hard to read. But none of them would—or could—say why. To find out what was wrong, the A.P. hired Dr. Rudolf Flesch, Vienna-born psychologist, author (The Art of Plain Talk) and Mr. Fix-It of writing. Dr. Flesch's report shocked the A.P.

Said he: "The stuff is monotonous.... The leads are not more readable than the stories—as they naturally should be—but less readable. . . . What's more, the better the story the worse the lead. . . . Foreign dispatches are consistently less readable than...

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