Sunday, August 14, 2011

On editing and revising: When less is more, FEMA style

The federal government, or at least one office of it, sees the light. "We had letters that took three paragraphs to say four words: 'We need more information,'" a FEMA rep said.

 He was talking about some Alabama residents' complaints about a letter they got from FEMA about their desire for help after tornadoes scoured the state in April. Some letters to people in blown-away houses told them they had "insufficient damage" to qualify for certain kinds of aid. No good, FEMA realized.

So FEMA revised, and simplified, its letters.