Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice? (New York Times Magazine) – This long-form feature relates in meticulous detail how a Florida couple was moved by their faith to forgive their daughter’s killer, her 19-year-old boyfriend.
What I learned about guns on the Cass Street Bridge (Tampa Tribune) – Jen A. Miller’s piece on being held up at gunpoint as a college student is well-argued, well-written, and concise – the op-ed trifecta.
Good Reads on Writing and Blogging
20 Great Writers on the Art of Revision (FlavorWire) – Good writing is good rewriting, according to Nabokov, King, Parker and other famous authors quoted in this roundup.
8 Rhetorical Strategies that Can Strengthen Your Writing (Poynter) – Speaking of revisions, Poynter’s resident writing coach Roy Peter Clark shares advice from Quintilian, a famous Roman rhetorician, that can help make your writing better. That advice includes studying writers of all kinds, letting a story “cool off” before revising it, and connecting reading, writing and speaking. Nice to know some things never change, even after 2,000 years.
On writing in the morning (The New Yorker) – Most writers I know have rituals or routines to help get them in the zone and ready to put words on the page (or computer screen). Roxana Robinson’s is almost zen-like, a quick bowl of granola, instant coffee, sitting with her laptop so she can’t log onto Facebook. Nice as it sounds, it’d never work for me. I still have a kid to get off to school. And I hate instant coffee.
‘Be Wrong as Fast as You Can’ (New York Times Magazine) – While you’re busy trying to come up with the next big idea that’s going to make you famous, you might already be doing what you were meant to do. And that’s OK, says NYTM editor Hugo Lindgren in this essay on the career ambitions and struggles that writers – and editors – live with. The best line: “Ideas, in a sense, are overrated,” he writes. “Of course, you need good ones, but at this point in our supersaturated culture, precious few are so novel that nobody else has ever thought of them before. It’s really about where you take the idea, and how committed you are to solving the endless problems that come up in the execution.”
4 New Neutrals for the New Year (Houzz) – If you’re thinking of a blog redesign, these colors are trending for 2013, according to my new favorite design blog. And if those don’t float your boat, here are four more colors predicted to be popular this year – that’s them in the image at the top of the page – yellow-green, grassy spring green, watery greenish blue, and royal blue.
Media Industry News
CBS takes aim at a rival, shoots CNET in the foot (paidContent) – CNET was set to include a small tech company in its list of best technology showings at this week’s CES consumer electronics expo in Las Vegas, until its parent company intervened. Seems CBS is suing Hopper and told CNET to pull the company from the list.
WSJ doubles down on scoops (Columbia Journalism Review) – CJR’s Dean Starkman discusses the merits of a new directive at the business paper exhorting writers to break more news stories. But focusing exclusively on scoops doesn’t a good news organization make, Starkman argues. “News, especially business news….is a balancing act between access and accountability,” he writes, “between investor interests and the public interest. As we learned during the financial crisis, they’re not the same thing.”
Challenges journalists are facing while covering the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case (Poynter) – Hackers associated with Anonymous helping uncover information about potential accomplices is only the beginning of the difficulties reporters covering this small-town assault have to contend with.
One of many examples of content as a business model (LinkedIn) – Venture capitalist and former business journalist Esther Dyson is the latest to weigh in on Andrew Sullivan’s plan to launch a subscription-based blog. Her assessment of whether Sullivan’s venture, or any other, will make it is also as good an explanation as I’ve ever read about why some people — including writers — do well on their own, and some don’t. She writes:
Individuals may join institutions, using their resources to get visibility, and then leave them to capitalize on their own capabilities. Institutions will need to cater more to their stars, who might leave if they believe they can do better on the outside. And those who find it tough on the outside will come back to the institutions, looking for an easier life and the leverage institutions can share.