To do great writing, read great writing. Here’s the great writing I’ve been reading this week:
Is writing for online news sites hard or not? – In this July 18 story, the New York Times painted a picture of a grueling work environment when the paper used Politico, the Beltway blog started by a couple of ex-Washington Post journos, to depict the rigors of keeping up with a 24/7 news cycle. The story goes into great detail about long work days and demanding editors. But in this July 19 rebuttal, Wall Street blogger Henry Blodget, proprietor of The Business Insider, doesn’t have much empathy for the poor souls who toil under such conditions, or the Times’ story about them. He writes:
Imagine not being able to stroll to work sometime after rush hour, spread several newspapers on your desk, peruse them leisurely until the afternoon, and then begin to think about the one article that you might (might) have to produce that day. Imagine being forced to care–as online media folks do–whether people actually want to read what you write. Life would be so oppressive and unfair as to barely be worth living!
Who’s right? Read both articles and decide for yourself. Lest anyone question what goes on behind the scenes at his three-year-old online news business, Blodget followed up the next day with this insider’s look at BI.
Down on the (content) farm – PBS MediaShift is running a series on content farms, starting with descriptions of some of the most well-known sites, and following up with accounts from content farm hands on what they do and why they do it, and information on how content farms train their workers.
So Print is Kaput? – With so much attention being paid to online news sites and content farms, you’d think print was dead. No so, writes New York Times fashion blogger Cathy Horyn, who maintains we’re entering “a different age of print,” based on the number of small magazines that keep popping up.
Build your own app – If you’ve toyed with the idea of creating a writing or news app, here’s your chance. Google’s come out with a program called AppInventor for building apps for the Android smartphone. This Mediabistro @GalleyCat post and short video gives you an overview of the process and has links for finding out more.
Janet Fitch’s 10 rules for writers – Fitch wrote this list with fiction writers in mind, but much of it applies to writers of non-fiction as well.
- 50 ways to improve your blog (Knowledgewebb.net)
- The wizard of WordPress: an interview with Matt Mullenweg (Web Designer Magazine)
- How to tell a journalist from a blogger (JolieODell.wordpress.com)
- What happens to writing in the age of the Internet?, a 70-minute video (Aspen Ideas Festival 2010)
- Stealing our stories just got easier (ProPublica)
- Politico, Slate and story versioning, or, the only web constant is change (Scott Rosenberg on Wordyard)
- Sumner’s witch hunt, or why you shouldn’t try to bribe reporters – because they’ll report on it (The Daily Beast)
- 8 digital media trends shaping 2010 (BetaTales)
- Smart editorial, smart readers, smart ad solutions: Slate makes a case for long-form journalism on the web (Nieman Journalism Lab)