Professional writing is the composition of informative materials designed for those who work in a professional capacity. This career also involves creating explanatory documents and articles, as well as sales materials for use in technical fields. Producing documentation and educational materials for use in the medical field is another activity within professional writing. Both general news coverage and business news reporting are also considered to be within this sector. Methods of writing depend heavily upon the type of writing the end-user requires.
The field of professional writing spans many fields, and as a result, there is a wide variety of communication materials produced for various audiences. Professional writing is defined largely by the training that prepares a person for this field. Those composing sales materials are usually expected to have familiarity with the products or services that will be distributed to clients.
There are legal ramifications to composing and distributing written materials, or composing product instruction guides or sales materials. Copyright infringement and liability issues are two major ones. As a result, the training of a professional writer or journalist usually prepares him or her to undertake writing assignments while not running afoul of these issues. Ethics are also a concern, particularly in news reporting.
Those who pursue a professional writing career are commonly trained to avoid comprising the integrity of an article. An example of compromising ethical integrity would be a writer failing to disclose a payment he or she received from a company that he or she profiled in a news report. This is considered slanted news coverage and most people would likely view it as a breach of ethical journalistic standards.
Professional writing is often required in producing technical manuals or documenting and reporting on manufacturing activities. The medical industry also requires extensive documentation, due to legal regulations concerning patient disclosures on pharmacological therapies and medical procedures. Those who work as medical writers typically receive specialized instruction relating to producing content for this field. They are also generally required to have a certain comfort level in using medical terminology.
News reporting covers many journalistic niches. General news reporting is expected to conform to whatever journalistic standards are operative within a country. These can vary significantly from one culture to the next, but in general, factual content, reliable sources, and professional discretion while reporting differentiate news reporting from propaganda.
Business news writers are expected to develop expertise in a particular field, such as computer hardware, for example. They may develop extensive contacts within the field. Some become expert sources. These reporters may then be given opportunities to report on breaking news ahead of other reporters. The field of business reporting is well populated with trained professionals who may have hands-on experience in the field in which they are providing news coverage.