The Red Jacket Diaries blog

Sue Horner is a freelance writer in Oakville, Ontario, who blogs about writing, newsletters, communications and running an independent business in The Red Jacket Diaries blog.

Four steps to write a meaningful mission statement

One of the best mission statements I’ve ever run across was framed as instructions in the managing editor’s office of the Rocky Mountain News (which folded in 2009): “Get the news. Tell the truth. Don’t be dull.” Companies spend serious time debating the words that go into mission and vision statements (terms that are sometimes […]

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Peek vs. peak; is it so hard?

There it was again, in a caption on the front page of a section of today’s newspaper: a sneak peak. (We won’t talk about the use of bugs in food. Ugh.) I feel silly offering guidance about when to use “peak” and when to use “peek,” but I see one wrongly used for the other […]

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Jargon and insider language? The Olympics have ‘em

The Olympics can’t keep up with the corporate world when it comes to jargon, but they sure have a vocabulary all their own. With the 2016 Summer Olympics in full swing in Rio, let’s take a look. The most noteworthy/cringeworthy is how achieving a medal has become a verb. Athletes are now “expected to medal” […]

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Abuse of ‘resonate’ weakens a strong word

Have you ever noticed that some words suddenly become popular, and you see them everywhere? Next thing you know, a solid word turns into overused jargon, or it gets mangled by misuse. Lately, I keep tripping over the word “resonate.” I understand its popularity. Resonate is a strong word that reflects the original musical sense […]

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Friday Fun: Spam version

I haven’t visited the spam holding pen for a while, so Friday seemed like a good time to check for the latest flattering and incoherent messages. (Thank goodness for Akismet, defender against blog comment spam. Although it no longer shows a running total, at one point it had blocked nearly 80,000 messages!) Here are my […]

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9 steps to readable writing

If you produce material that you hope will be read and understood, you can use readability tests to get an idea of how you’re doing. While researching road ecology – the study of the often deadly interaction of roads and nature – I ran across a guide called a “resource for students, citizens, government and […]

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Make the most of a summer slowdown

“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” — Henry James Whether you are a freelancer or work in a corporate office, you may find that business slows in the summertime. People you need to talk to are on vacation. Projects are postponed. […]

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Tech of the future still needs communications support

When technology and big data converge, the results can be revolutionary. Just don’t forget communications. Illustrating that point was one of many stories shared by Julia Oosterman at the “Next Big Thing” session for IABC/Toronto Westend members on June 23. Julia described a woman apparently having a heart attack during a meeting, who later found […]

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The best of the Red Jacket Diaries so far in 2016

Sometimes, individual months draaaag along (January, I’m looking at you), but suddenly June hurtles past and the year is halfway through. Heading into the July 1st / July 4th long weekend, here’s a half-dozen of my most-viewed blog posts so far this year: ‘How to take the leap to the independent life’ talks about what […]

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Bottom line? Get to the bottom of numbers

How rare is it to be born on February 29, the extra day in a Leap Year? By chance I was travelling on this year’s extra day, and found this explanation by journalist Steve Rubenstein in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Being born on Feb. 29 is rare, sort of. The odds of it happening are […]

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