Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category
On Thursday, Newsweek announced they will be an all-digital magazine by the start of 2013. After nearly 80 years in print, “challenging economics of print publishing and distribution” means that the publication will solely be found online. When I read Tina Brown and Baba Shetty’s article online first thing yesterday morning, I wasn’t at all surprised.
There are certainly some unhappy with the news. But the loss of Newsweek’s hardcopy was predictable. It cost $40 million per year to publish, while ad rates everywhere were dropping and Tina Brown saw circulation halved from 3,158,480 in 2001 to 1,527,157 last June. Her attempts to goose sales with ridiculous covers (a few on Michelle Bachman, heaven and the Middle East) did not do the trade proud.
Today, The New York Times officially banned “after-the-fact quote approvals.” This is the fairly common request from PR people and spokespeople to approve their quotes following an interview. The Times memo stated that “demands for after-the-fact quote approval by sources and their press aides have gone too far.”
Everyone understands the desire to ask to approve a quote. We’ve seen the perils of misused quotes and statistics all too often in this year’s presidential race. However, most of us aren’t running for public office, and in journalism, unlike the creative halls of political campaign ad execs, the truth is the ultimate goal. In fact, reputable reporters follow the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.
Show and tell. That’s the thing you did in second grade when you found a rock, assumed it had fallen from the moon and you wanted to share it with your classmates.
Then there’s show, don’t tell. Not to be confused with Truth or Dare.
Show-don’t-tell is what good journalism schools and what creative writing professors and literary editors preach all day, reminding authors that if you want to grab the reader by the collar, stating the facts isn’t enough. Yes, characters, plot and premise are essential. And yes, your writing needs to be crisp. But then what?
Here are four tips to get you going:
My Facebook feed this week has been buzzing with Chick-fil-A updates. There was the viral letter that Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino wrote to the restaurant chain’s President Dan Cathy saying Chick-fil-A was not welcome to open a store in the city because of its stance against same-sex marriage. And then there were these photos below, posted by different friends; each shows a brand—Sarah Palin and KFC —taking advantage of the media firestorm to get some attention for themselves.
This got me thinking: when is it ok to be opportunistic, piggybacking on an issue in the media? When is it not? And what are the do’s and don’ts?
Do be opportunistic if:
The funny thing about being a blowhard communicator is that, eventually, it comes back to bite you. Look no further than former Red Sox ace turned video game entrepreneur Curt Schilling. When Schilling was in his prime he was a fierce competitor, tireless worker and driven to succeed. To some, he also came across as somewhat crass and arrogant. Whether he was giving the beat writers assembled pre-game in front of his locker a hard time or calling into WEEI as “Curt in the car,” it was clear that he had an opinion and demanded to be heard.
Back then it sure seemed that the only thing Schilling liked to do more than pitch was talk, and no subject was safe from Curt’s version of reality. In short, he was the ultimate blowhard. The media was only too happy to put the microphone in front of him.
As the world casts its eyes on London for the 2012 Summer Olympics, writers can go for the gold in their prose.
The Associated Press (AP) has published its editorial style guide for the Summer Games, compiling essential terms, spellings and definitions for the XXX Olympiad. Opening Friday, July 27, the London Games will feature 26 sports and 39 disciplines with about 10,500 athletes vying for a total of 2,100 gold, silver and bronze medals.
When watching U.S. swimmers Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte’s aquatic quests or Team USA’s vaults in gymnastics, writers can follow AP’s Olympic terms and usage:
- Olympics or Olympic Games: Always capitalized. There are Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics, or Summer Games and Winter Games.
- Olympics (n.): Always capitalized.
Everyone knows that creative ideas never happen at your desk, looking at a blank screen or—even worse—seeing a steady stream of emails pervade the space. Right?
So, I took my salad to the kitchen and ate it at a proper table while reading Time. Leafing through the front of the book, near a photo of a Muslim Brotherhood rally, were some large orange words that read: “It represents the archetypal ‘turd on the plaza.’”
I put down my fork.
Oliver Wainwright, a British architecture critic, was lambasting the new ArcelorMittal Orbit structure that the highly talented Anish Kapoor designed for Olympic Park in London. The picture of the structure was right there, under the quote, but it is so strange looking—a rollercoaster, meets post-modern sculpture, meets something under construction—that my eyes had skipped over that mess and settled on Wainwright’s words, written large.
Words, when cobbled into descriptive sentences, can create some of the most striking works of art. These verses wield the power to convey detailed messages, paint vivid images and absorb all readers—while informing audiences.
Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications (the leading publisher of corporate communications, public relations and leadership development), recently hosted a writing webinar that discussed how communicators can sharpen their prose. At the heart of communications is storytelling, and in order to successfully express narratives, clear writing is the vehicle that turns tangled thoughts into dramatic tales.
Unblemished writing has never been so important during the digital age as newsrooms dwindle and blogs flourish. As a result, brand journalism has spawned, enabling companies to act as media outlets, report their stories and generate engaging content that they can propagate across the Web.