The slow death of logical thought

In recent years I’ve tutored students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism whose writing is disorganized almost beyond human help, but they seldom mention “writing” as what they came to the school to learn. … They return from a reporting assignment with a million notes and a million quotes and no idea what the story is about.

The reason, I assume–and I don’t expect a Nobel Prize for this deduction–is that people now get their information mainly from random images on a screen and from random messages in their ears, and it no longer occurs to them that writing is linear and sequential; sentence B must follow sentence A. Every year student writing is a little more disheveled; I’m witnessing the slow death of logical thought. So is every English teacher in America.

William Zinsser

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