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Concision refers generally to brevity, or the practice of using no more words than necessary to describe an idea. When increasing concision (without omitting important information), it increases the effectiveness of communication by making it more efficient and by making information easier to understand. Concision has been described as one of the elementary principles of writing.
Concision may involve removing redundant or unnecessary phrases or replacing them with shorter ones. It is described in The Elements of Style by Strunk and White as follows:
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.—Elementary Principles of Composition, The Elements of Style
Concision has also been described as "eliminat[ing] words that take up space without saying much." Simple examples include replacing "due to the fact that" with "because" or "at this point in time" with "now" or "currently." A more complete discussion is found here.
An example sentence, with explanation:
"It is a fact that most arguments must try to convince readers, that is the audience, that the arguments are true." Notice the beginning of the sentence: "it is a fact that" doesn't say much; if something is a fact, just present it. So begin the sentence with "most arguments..." and turn to the next bit of overlap. Look at "readers, that is the audience"; the redundancy can be reduced to "readers" or "audience." Now we have "Most arguments must try to convince readers that the arguments are true." Let's get rid of one of the "arguments" to produce "Most arguments must demonstrate (their) truth to readers," or a similarly straightforward expression.
From the above link, the following example is used:
"The author of the poem illustrated various differences between the characters. The poem, which was a romantic poem, showed that each individual character was sort of devious in the way in which he or she did things and behaved. The two characters in the poem, who were named Jim and Dwight, were never definitely and completely honest with each other, which led to the final outcome of them being unhappy. This outcome, which was undesirable, is designed in a way to show the readers just exactly how the author feels about lying and deceit."
This can be replaced with:
"The romantic poem showed that its characters were devious. Jim and Dwight, the poem’s two characters, were never honest with each other and ended up unhappy. This undesirable outcome shows the readers how the author feels about lying."
In the second quote, the same information is communicated in less than half the length.
In the context of media criticism, the word concision is also used to describe the practice of limiting debate and discussion of important topics on broadcast news on the basis of broadcast time allotment.
Media critics such as Noam Chomsky contend that this practice, especially on commercial broadcasts with advertising, encourages broadcasters to exclude people and ideas that they judge cannot conform to the time limits of a particular program. This leads to a limited number of "the usual suspects" who will say expected ideas that will not require extensive explanation such as mainstream political ones.
In fact, the structure of the news production system is, you can't produce evidence. There's even a name for it -- I learned it from the producer of Nightline, Jeff Greenfield. It's called "concision." He was asked in an interview somewhere why they didn't have me on Nightline, and his answer was -- two answers. First of all, he says, "Well, he talks Turkish, and nobody understands it." But the other answer was, "He lacks concision." Which is correct, I agree with him. The kinds of things that I would say on Nightline, you can't say in one sentence because they depart from standard religion. If you want to repeat the religion, you can get away with it between two commercials. If you want to say something that questions the religion, you're expected to give evidence, and that you can't do between two commercials. So therefore you lack concision, so therefore you can't talk.
Furthermore, introducing controversial or unexpected statements that do not conform to those conventional ideas are discouraged as time inefficient because the person will be required to explain and support them in detail. Since this can often take considerable time in itself and digress from the primary discussion topic of the broadcast, this is discouraged. Alternatively, the explanation could be subject to extensive editing for time which could lead to an inadequate presentation of the subject's thoughts.
This media control idea is illustrated in the film documentary Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media where journalist Jeff Greenfield explains why a person like Chomsky may be excluded from being interviewed on air because he takes too long to warm up. The film then follows up with Chomsky himself explaining the concept while the film gives examples of controversial statements he has made in the past that would require extensive explanation in an interview.
The 1999 feature film The Insider has a dramatization of the media concept where journalist Mike Wallace goes public on a news show about the censoring of a controversial story on 60 Minutes. When Wallace sees his interview broadcast, he is furious that his testimony is limited to a cut part statement that does not adequately explain his position and the only excuse from the producers he receives is that it had to be cut for time.