I’m a writer. At least that’s what I say whenever I’m asked what I do for work. Continue reading…
I’m a writer. At least that’s what I say whenever I’m asked what I do for work. Continue reading…
As someone who’s written hundreds of articles for fancy publications, I’m often asked the best way to land free publicity.
Outside of knowing when you have truly have something that’s noteworthy and knowing which audiences are most likely to find your something relevant, my colleague Josh Steimle recently wrote about the subject for Entrepreneur; specifically how to get great PR in 15 minutes per day.
Josh was kind enough to interview and quote me in the article. This is what I said: “Indirect PR pitches are the best way to increase your chances of a media placement. Rather than talking about yourself, explain a larger trend that might interest the journalist or publication you’re pitching, complete with stats, anecdotes and data.
“Your contribution should be only part of the story. Doing so not only makes the press’s job easier but demonstrates greater objectivity, further increasing your chances of a placement.”
In my experience as someone being pitched, that approach leads to a lot more placements.
Take these. If you’re interested in journalism, the art of war, Star Wars, business, and/or are “white,” I think you’ll enjoy them:
I don’t like academic writing. It’s mostly nonsense.
A few years ago, I said as much to my father who works in academia. Despite my insensitivity and lack of tact, I stand by my belief. Not because I’m incapable of admitting when I’m wrong. But because academic writing’s verbose language, impersonal tone, and dispassionate delivery ultimately fail to engage readers.
In other words, “Academics are really good at writing books that only academics will read, but they’re not very good at making anyone outside of academia care,” says Jared Bauer, co-creator of Thug Notes, in an interview with Huffington Post. “Teaching isn’t easy, so I’m not trying to shame teachers for not trying more radical approaches to literature education,” he adds. “But at the very least, I hope (our) show makes teachers realize that a student won’t volunteer their attention. The teacher must seize it.”
As I debated with my father that day, for writing to succeed, it must capture the reader’s attention. If it doesn’t, the writing won’t get shared, influence can’t happen, and the opportunity to learn is squandered, even among scholars. There’s no point to that kind of writing other than to serve as a reminder of how not to write. Continue reading…
There’s a funny saying in journalism. You could publish the biggest exclusive story in the world — a major political scandal, military coup, celebrity scoop, scientific breakthrough, or life-changing event. But it still won’t reach as many people as a cute story about a dog (See also: The AP Guide to News & Feature Writing).
I was reminded of this recently while walking my dog. Although I’ve walked the block many times with my adorable toddlers, one neighbor in particular never took much notice when crossing paths. No biggie. I just thought she was a private but pleasant lady. She’d smile; sometimes wave. We waved back. That was the extent of it for nearly four years.
Until she met Harley. Continue reading…
As seen in my local newspaper (which I re-upped, btw). Yes, the story, based on a university study, is as dumb as it’s headlined. In sum: Human body wasn’t meant to balance nor support excessive pounds for prolonged periods of time. May fall as a result. Go figure.
Now before any dreamy eyed Obama voters get offended by the timing of this, I’m in no way calling our nascent President a failure. I’m still hopeful. But as an American, I want answers, which is what good reporting should be seeking anyway. So why haven’t these questions been asked (or maybe I missed them)? Continue reading…
Time Magazine is wrong.
As newspapers — and by extension 80% of all original reporting — face extinction, along with print, the magazine says websites should charge $.10/day or $2/month to access the news. Author Walter Isaacson says this will offset the loss of subscription and classified revenue so creative journalists can still “get paid” in addition to advertising, which isn’t performing well online.
As a freelance journalist, nothing would please me more than getting better pay for the work I do. But I think Isaacson is off the mark — people will never pay for commodity information online (remember the failed “paid” content idea?). If network TV news can survive (while some even thrive) on advertising alone, why can’t websites? Isn’t the idea to stay lean and mean and choose your reporting battles, which can be expensive (say… stationing a full-time journalist in Iraq like the LA Times does on its constituents’ dime)?
Anyone got any ideas? Otherwise, our ability to watch guard government, corporations, and the public through journalism could be compromised.
Economist.com — “Pick almost any American newspaper company and you can tell a similar story. The ABC reported that for the 530 biggest dailies, average circulation in the past six months was 3.6% lower than in the same period a year earlier; for Sunday papers, it was 4.6% lower. Ad revenues are plunging across the board…”
Fact: many technologists were quick to predict the death of pen and paper with the rise of typewriters and personal computers. Similarly, many technologists predicted book sales would decrease with the rise of e-book readers.
That being said, older technology can often persist in light of new technology through adaptation (i.e. new technology does not always obviate older technology). I believe the same is true for newspapers and magazines, provided they accentuate their remaining value (portable text, reputation, local community, and/or more non-ephemeral reporting like features).
“Not all :) as informal writing creeps into teen assignments,” reads a clever AP headline. Here’s an excerpt:
It’s nothing to LOL about: Despite best efforts to keep school writing assignments formal, two-thirds of teens admit in a survey that emoticons and other informal styles have crept in… “It’s a teachable moment,” said Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist at Pew. “If you find that in a child’s or student’s writing, that’s an opportunity to address the differences between formal and informal writing. They learn to make the distinction … just as they learn not to use slang terms in formal writing.”
First of all, I love how avant guard the Associated Press was in using that playful headline in a formal news report. Secondly, I whole heartily agree that there’s a time and a place for informality. That goes for speech as well.
Blake Snow examines gaming benevolence and creative development twice monthly. The color of next-gen is bright.
In 2007, a fictional food critic by the name of Antone Ego aptly described mass media and its audience when he wrote: “We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read.”
Ego’s definition couldn’t have been wiser. Indeed, positive news has long since taken a backseat to negative reporting, with the former often compressed to a 20-second closing spot in a 30-minute telecast.
The same is true of videogames, if not by more, which have long been vilified and blamed for idleness, poor grades, insensitivity and random acts of violence by the mainstream media. Interestingly, even the gaming press has become more grumpy in recent years, adding drama where there is none to be found, discouraging industry growth and change, and forgetting the playful nature of videogames altogether.
I’ve had several discussions this past week on the best way to interview someone in the name of journalism. Here are my thoughts, methodologies, and best practices when trying to extract pertinent information from key individuals.
Anyone else have thoughts on interviewing for information? Comment if you got ’em.
Game journalism sometimes gets a bad rap, but many of the worst accusations aren’t based in reality. Here are eight of the most popular myths about game reporting…and what really happens behind the scenes.
8. Video game journalists aren’t as responsible as traditional media.
Conventional wisdom suggests that most gaming journalists are uninspired, inconsistent, overly sensationalistic, or even fail to fact check before running a story. While some outlets are more irresponsible than others, this isn’t the case across the board. Game journalism didn’t get where it is today by being inaccurate and irresponsible. Additionally, widespread video game coverage has existed no longer than 20 years since the late 80s. While the media is anything but nascent, it still has its growing pains. Was the mainstream media as reliable as they are today? Not likely. This same is true of video game journalists.
The Verdict: It depends on the publication and the reporter, but more often than not, game journalists are right up there with most media in terms of credibility.
Write a lot. Then buy this book. Or vice versa.
Don’t let the name mislead you—The AP Guide to News Writing will help you become a better writer of everything except maybe books. This quick and worthwhile read is full of helpful tips, professional counsel, and practical ways to further flex your prose.
Ryan from Invisible Inkling has such a good take on the waning popularity of newspapers and how new media has changed the game for the better. Without stealing his thunder, here are his major points:
Be sure to click on through to read his excellent commentary.
In an article entitled “Do Newspapers Have a Future,” author Michael Kinsley at TIME magazine had this to say: “Meanwhile, there is the blog terror: people are getting their understanding of the world from random lunatics riffing in their underwear, rather than professional journalists with standards and passports.”
He’s got a point. However, he also exposes the overall threatened view of traditional media towards bloggers, and rightfully so. Continue reading…
Okay, this might be somewhat of a dated topic, but should biased, opinionated web loggers enjoy the same protection as so called “non-biased, but they really are biased” journalists? Apple Computer seems to think not in wake of their recent litigation against bloggers who got the computer company ruffled when they took the steam out of their new ipods and imacs.
Let me know your thoughts on this one… Do bloggers deserved to be treated as new amateur journalists of the new era? As for me, it is yet to be determined. (Sara, this goes for you too!)
“PFG – pretty freakin good”