To do good writing, read good writing. Here’s the good writing I’ve been reading this week:
Trinity Smith will always be that girl (Oregonian) – I have a love-hate relationship with Oregonian columnist Steve Duin’s work. Sometimes his openings are so convoluted it’s hard to figure out what the heck he’s writing about. He’s much better when he keeps things simple, as in a column he filed this week. The occasion was the naming of a new city fire bureau rescue boat. But it was really the opportunity to revisit the story of the now 8-year-old girl who survived her mother tossing her and her little brother off Portland’s Sellwood Bridge into the Willamette River 18 months ago, the appalling act of an apparently deranged mind. Trinity survived, her little brother didn’t, and the new fire boat bears both their names. By focusing his retelling of the tale on the police sergeant who pulled Trinity and her brother out of the water after quick-thinking houseboat owners found them, Duin helped readers feel the true impact the event, then and now. Powerful stuff.
Active v. passive voice in writing (Our Little Books) – I’m convinced that 50 percent of bad writing would disappear if writers stopped using passive voice. But it’s easier said than done, which is why this little explainer makes for such good reading.
The media business
Our first annual Lab reader poll (Nieman Journalism Lab) – Fill out the survey to help Harvard-based Nieman Labs predict what 2011 will bring for the news business. Don’t be intimidated by what looks like a long survey with lots of fill-in-the-blank questions; Labs blogger Joshua Benton says one- and two-word answers are OK.
Tech tools for writers
Top 8 journalism apps of 2010 (that you’ll use all next year) (AbrahamHyatt.com) – Hyatt, a geek journalists who started Digital Journalim Portland and works as production editor at ReadWriteWeb, picks his fav mobile and cloud based tools that debuted this year, and how journalists can use them.
LinkedIn Resume Builder (LinkedIn) – Use LinkedInLabs’ hack to turn your profile on the business social network into a resume.
What can Gawker’s redesign teach website publishers about maximizing readership and revenue? (Online Journalism Review) – You don’t have to be the New York Times to appreciate Robert Niles’ smart assessment of the wisdom behind Gawker’s front page redo. The redesign, which is ongoing, mixes breaking news with evergreens, all the better to please loyal readers and first-time visitors. Even if you just blog for yourself, you’ve probably realized that your blog need both types of content – new and popular – on the front page. If yours doesn’t, it might be time for a redo of your own.
Top 10 RSS and syndication technologies of 2010 (ReadWriteWeb) – More from RWW, this time from Marshall Kirkpatrick, the tech news site’s most prolific blogger. I know I need to figure out a better way to track all the publications and blogs I track, so I’m putting this piece on my to-do list for further review.