Writer and Editor2020-04-04T15:47:40-04:00
Neil Macdonald spent 43 years reporting on politics, wars, elections, revolutions, booms, crashes, coups, and the struggles of ordinary human beings in the unforgiving, bewildering rush of history.

He worked as an editor and reporter in three newspapers before moving to CBC News, for which he covered Quebec before moving to Parliament Hill, then abroad as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East and Washington, DC., and finally as the CBC’s opinion columnist.

He has stood in Iraq watching missiles strike, in Bethlehem watching people welcome the new millennium, in Jerusalem watching an intifada erupt, and in Chicago watching Barack Obama accept the American presidency. He followed the Pope through the Holy Land, tracked down Hitler’s last general in Europe, covered the triumphant arrival and subsequent humiliation of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, revealed the plotters who killed Rafiq Hariri in Beirut, and documented the financial horrors unleashed on America’s cities by Wall Street.

He speaks French, having grown up in Quebec, reasonably good English, and sufficient Arabic. He lives in Ottawa.

Neil can be reached by clicking here. Roughly broken down, here’s what we offer:

Neil Macdonald spent 43 years reporting on politics, wars, elections, revolutions, booms, crashes, coups, and the struggles of ordinary human beings in the unforgiving, bewildering rush of history.

He worked as an editor and reporter in three newspapers before moving to CBC News, for which he covered Quebec before moving to Parliament Hill, then abroad as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East and Washington, DC., and finally as the CBC’s opinion columnist.

He has stood in Iraq watching missiles strike, in Bethlehem watching people welcome the new millennium, in Jerusalem watching an intifada erupt, and in Chicago watching Barack Obama accept the American presidency. He followed the Pope through the Holy Land, tracked down Hitler’s last general in Europe, covered the triumphant arrival and subsequent humiliation of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti, revealed the plotters who killed Rafiq Hariri in Beirut, and documented the financial horrors unleashed on America’s cities by Wall Street.

He speaks French, having grown up in Quebec, reasonably good English, and sufficient Arabic. He lives in Ottawa.

Neil can be reached by clicking here. Roughly broken down, here’s what we offer:

SPEECH WRITING

A Power Point presentation is audience-numbing anesthetic. A staff-written speech crafted to hedge and equivocate interests no one. Anyone who regularly pays for a table knows that speakers, many with powerful ideas, often fail in the conveyance. We deliver spare, elegant writing tailored to the style of the speaker. No needless words. No tiresome tropes, no clichés, no obscurantism. And every word used precisely. The result is a speech with punch, lightly seasoned with humor. Clear, memorable, and direct. When was the last time you sat at the table you paid for and heard something like that?

GHOSTWRITING

Editors who hold the gate at newspapers, magazines and websites want a smart argument, laid out compactly, in persuasive language. Most of the time, that’s not what they see when they open their emails and go through the day’s submissions. We will provide a crisp polemic that uses flair and logic to build a case in the interest of your business, your campaign or your cause. And do the research, if necessary. And, further, provide advice on how and where to aim the submission for maximum impact. The whole point, after all, is not just to get published, but to persuade the reader.

SHARPENING DELIVERY

The cleverest message or speech will flop if the execution is flat. We’ve all seen it happen. There is an art to speaking at the podium, or for the camera. We can provide bespoke training in how to deliver the speech we write for you. If required, we can also provide guidance on how to perform effectively in interviews or Q&A sessions – how to come away satisfied you’ve delivered your message, rather than sweating over how you sounded or looked. And of course we can sculpt your message in the first place, amping its penetrative power. Basically, we are here to help.

Blog

“THAT’S BEEN THE STORY OF LIFE.”

March 23rd, 2020|

The watering hole is shrinking, as the African saying goes, and the animals are starting to look at one another differently. The weaker ones are feeling their mortality, beginning to understand that they just might not make it through

ALL OF US VERSUS THE ALIENS

March 19th, 2020|

Interesting, isn’t it, how much barbed wire has suddenly slithered out of the conversation? How fear, and a threat that ignores borders, combine to encourage civility and prod us closer? How, suddenly, rigid ideology and blinkered partisanship seem awfully

So. Who gets the ventilators?

March 15th, 2020|

I wish Sophie Gregoire Trudeau good health, and a complete recovery in her quarantine. The same for the lovely Margaret Trudeau, if she comes down with COVID-19. Both women were at the same speaking engagement in London; presumably, that

Archives

There were awards for reporting, but Neil Macdonald is most recognized as a writer.

He was for nearly twenty years one of the premier columnists for the largest news website in Canada, CBC.CA. His writing not only generated some of the site’s biggest audiences – in some cases much larger than the numbers attracted by network newscasts – but had the stickiness factor so prized in the digital realm; readers tended to keep reading right to the end. He is a faithful practitioner of William Strunk’s famous Rule 13: “Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.”

Here are a few samples.

How to find me

Office phone: 613-513-6812
Email: rneilmacd@gmail.com
Twitter: @typesandspells