Writing a white paper: advice from Winston Churchill

The original white paper was written by Winston Churchill. In thecurrent avalanche of white papers, it's worth checking the original for lessons:

Be substantive. This white paper treats a serious subject in a substantive way. Before adding another blah...blah white paper to the world, please ask yourself: Do I have anything substantive or new to say?

  1. Be pithy. Churchill's white paper covers the future of Palestine in 1,972 words covering 4 pages.
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  3. Don't pull punches. Churchill goes after people with "exaggerated interpretations" and explains their misunderstanding. Don't be wishy washy in a white paper. Readers want an opinion that provokes some thought.
  4. Be precise. Instead of wondering what exactly the subject of a white paper is, Churchill draws distinctions sharply. He explains that the discussion is about a Jewish home in Palestine, not a Jewish Palestine. Fuzzy definitions have serious consequences.
  5. Draw out consequences. Too many white papers sound like political broadcasts -- just exercises in shrill subjectivity and bias. Churchill is careful to draw out and explain why his position should neither alarm the Arab population nor disappoint the Jews.

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