No More Memos

Delivered to my house this week was the instructor’s edition of Daniel G. Riordan’s stalwart textbook Technical Report Writing Today, 10th edition. I was thrilled, I have to say, having used the 9th edition of Riordan’s text in my upper-level communications classes for years because I loved its pristine prose, lucid organization, meat-and-potatoes examples, and writing exercises.

In the new edition Riordan has directly addressed changes in the way professionals write one another. Discussion of “Memos” is gone completely; the word is not even listed in the index. “People don’t write memos any more. They send e-mails with attachments,” Riordan notes. And the chapter on “Letters” is no more. Discussion of this topic is tucked into the chapter on Job Application materials.

Added are sections on social media (of course), presentations, and writing grants for non-profit organizations.

Regarding the latter Riordan notes: “Many of our students will be involved in such writing either because they work for a non-profit, or because as a community member they join a board that requires such work in order to facilitate the daily running of the organization. In addition this topic allows students a wonderful opportunity for a community service project. Whether you are in a major urban or a rural area, you will be able to find a non-profit organization that will be delighted to have your students help them with this important work. Creating a grant proposal will also place your students into the world where their writing ‘counts,’ not for a grade but to make a difference in other people’s lives.”

My students will find this new edition immediately useful. Almost all of them volunteer for one or more non-profit organizations and choose them as the basis for real-world term projects.

The book will be a handy addition to the library of any communications professional or academic as well. (Look at Riordan’s Table of Contents.)

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