To do great writing, read great writing. Here’s the great writing I’ve been reading this week:
Oh, where to begin. This has been some week for writers. A freelancer outs an editor who lifted one of her old story without telling or paying her and then castigates said writer for being upset – a story that other outraged writers quickly made sure went viral. Another freelancers chronicles – rather humorously I might add – his experience writing for Demand Media in the Columbia Journalism Review. The Online News Association wraps up what could arguably be its best conference ever, with 1,200 people attending, then tops if off by announcing a digital journalism training partnership with Poynter Institute. Then there was that little matter of the mid-term elections, which got shared, tweeted, liked, mapped and Foursquared from start to finish.
Here are some highlights, plus a few other goodies I happened to come across:
The Cooks Source roasting – It’s hard to choose a recap of what went down to list here because there are so many, and they’re all variations on the twin themes of disbelief and outrage. I’m including one from CNN that tells it pretty straight. You’ll find others on Gawker, the Guardian, etc., along with plenty of comments – snarky, crude and worse – on the magazine’s Facebook page. And writer Monica Gaudio shares her version of the events on her own blog. The takeaway for editors – read up on copyright law and understand the different between “on the Internet” and “public domain.” The takeaway for writers – now you know why all those people have been telling you why should set up a Google News alert on your own byline, so you can catch plagarists in the act sooner v. later.
In Demand: A Week Inside the Future of Journalism – It’s become a popular conceit for an otherwise upstanding journalist to dabble with writing for a content farm or hyperlocal news iste to make the point of how horrible/mindless/poorly edited/underpaid/you get the picture the work is and why other writers shouldn’t bother. Since I started this blog, I can think of at least a half dozen such experiments, including this one and this one that I’ve written about on this blog. Nicholas Spangler’s experiment writing for Demand for a week is worth mentioning because it’s one of the newest, goes into a greater amount of detail about the process than a lot of the others, and landed in the pages of the esteemed Columbia Journalism Review, which gives it extra street cred.
2010 Online News Association Conference – This annual conference of media hacks and hackers*was attended by a SRO crowd and can I say how much it killed me not to be there this year? Sounds like a good time was had by all. In case you missed it, you can read about ONA innovators, an ONA magazine, and the conference’s top three design highlights from 10,000 Words. *This is not a disparaging term. In fact, Hacks and Hackers is the name of a group of digital journalists and the coders who love them that’s gotten so popular, enclaves are popping up all over the country.
My Life as an Heiress (The New Yorker) – I want to be Nora Ephron when I grow up. Since I’m not Jewish, wasn’t raised in Hollywood and my parents weren’t in the movie business, so it ain’t gonna happen. But I can still admire her work, a great example of which is in the Oct. 11 of The New Yorker. “My Life as an Heiress” is Ephron at her best: personal, self deprecating, funny, full of sidetracks that only seem to ramble but eventually fit into the larger fabric of the story. And she saves the best for last.
The best of the rest:
- How I Make $5,000 a Month as a Paid Blogger (Make a Living Writing) – The secret’s no secret, says Carol Tice, just good old fashioned hard work.
- 5 common blogging tips that aren’t true (Rob Cubbon)
- The secret weapon that makes your content successful (Copyblogger) – There goes that Carol Tice again. What’s the secret? I ain’t saying on this one, you’ll have to find out for yourself.
- Why do ebooks cost so much? (Michael Hyatt)
- Journalism tech cheat sheet (xkcd) – Just for fun.