Don Zimmerman, Journalism and Technical Communication Department
Typically, when I'm writing a report for a person out there, I provide them with the information they need to either increase their knowledge or make a decision.
When I talk about focus, I really mean targeting. Here's an example. This comes out of a trade magazine. In Nursing '96, you'll find articles written by nurses for other nurses. They will generally open with essentially two or three paragraphs. They will say, "You know, here is the problem I had as a nurse in this setting." They tend to set them in what I would consider, soap opera-ish kinds of settings. They set up a real life situation with real people. In other words, "I went into Sally's room and discovered she'd thrown all the covers off the bed and she was sweating profusely." the article goes on to describe what it was. Then it will come back and say, "Here's the problem. Now we've had a number of patients who did this kind of activity, and we found they fell out of bed. To minimize those injuries, here are three things we've done." Then they will give you the summary and then they will elaborate those procedures. That's very targeted.
Targeting influences the kind of language used. This means the nurses in the hospital are dealing with "X" kind of patient and "X" kinds of situation. This means a lot of terms and terminology are used. The other nurses reading about this will understand it because of their interest in that topic; it's going to fit them.