Canada’s university magazines beat the U.K.’s in word economy


Rachel Muenz Compares the Word Count of Stories Between Countries - Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com
Rachel Muenz Compares the Word Count of Stories Between Countries – Photo Courtesy of Stockexpert.com

Rachel Muenz - Writing - September 12, 2009

By Rachel Muenz

Apparently, Canada doesn’t think its university students can handle long articles. Either that or it just uses language more efficiently than its U.K. counterparts.

Based on a random selection of five articles each from five Canadian online publications for students and five from publications in the U.K., Canadian articles are over 120 words shorter than those in the U.K.

Canadian university articles were 823 words long on average while U.K. articles had an average word count of 945.

Of the five Canadian magazines looked at, Carleton University Magazine’s articles had the largest average word count at 1176 and Oxford Today – Oxford University’s magazine – led the five U.K. publications with 1658 words per article on average.

The two university publications with the fewest words per article were York University’s YFile magazine with 565 words per article on average and Cambridge University’s alumni magazine, CAM, with 457 words on average.

Those shorter articles don’t necessarily mean lower quality. In 2008, YFile topped other Canadian university magazines to win gold for Best Magazine in the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education’s Prix d’Excellence competition.

And, despite the lower word count, the Canadian university content was mostly the same as articles in the U.K., focusing on campus news, events, student life and profiles, important university trends and concerns, entertainment and world issues.

– with data from Macleans Magazine’s OnCampus section, University affairs.ca, YFile Magazine, Carleton University Magazine, Tabaret Magazine, The National Student, CAM Magazine, campus.ie, Oxford Today and The Bridge Magazine

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