Archive for the 'Glenn Scott' Category

What’s to Come for Media Writers?

How to know the future in our fields? We can’t, but we can guess with a lot of insight. One way to scan the horizon is to read the better blogs. Here are some nice links to follow as you consider the direction of the mass media in the years to come. While you’re at it, bloggers, think about whether you ought to maintain a blog as deep as some of these you’ll be reading.

The blog ADWEEK30 offers a link to a report from Forrester Research, a media-research company, suggesting that TV networks will shift their content to on-demand formats over the next decade. This will allow users (or audience members) to serve their own needs advertisers to better target their audiences. The report calls this Personal TV, a parallel to a personal computer or personal phone?

This switch implies huge consequences. Can you name some?

This clever blog, PR-Squared, from the owner of Shift Communications, offers some thoughts about how public relations people need to embrace social media forms. Including blogs. Just how true does owner Todd Defren suppose this to be? Well, here’s a quick burst of this thinking: This future is coming and will crush PR agencies unprepared to meet the advancing wave of change.

Don’t mean to scare you, but look what the largest newspaper chain did today? Read it here in Gannett Journal, an independent blog, that offers news about layoffs at Gannett newspapers across the country. This is just more evidence that traditional media are forced to change as digital forms undermine the old way of making profits. Newspapers can’t sell enough ads anymore because of competition from online forms such as Do you know it?

The former Washington, D.C., bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers wonders if the longtime bosses of newsrooms are the right people today to lead in the needed transformations. David Westphal, writing for the Knight Digital Media Center, offers this thought:

. . . the pace of digital change likely will accelerate, with editors under pressure to completely reimagine how people receive (and contribute to) news and information. Having managed their newsrooms through repeated rounds of downsizing, will veteran editors be the best people to lead their newsrooms to the Promised Land? Or will young journalists with no investment in the past (for good and ill) be better choices? There isn’t a right and wrong answer. But these are questions we’re going to hear about more and more.

Realize what he’s saying here? The suggestion is that a new generation of digitally savvy young people may be the ones to lead the charge. Would that be, um, you?

You can read Westphal’s entire piece here on OJR, which stands for the Online Journalism Review.

A panel session at Harvard Business School provided some grist for understanding what comes next. One panelist suggested that the real commodity that we all need most is information. Another said the long-term answer is simplicity in use of technology. Hmmm. Gotta like that.

Yahoo’s Sue Decker offered this:

Increasingly, companies will find ways to leverage whatever social networks you’re in, find ways to service those in ways easy for you to access, and try to go for more simplicity. Simplicity is the single thing people really want. It’s going to get faster in terms of technology. There’s going to be more opportunities and interconnections.

How does local-link journalism fit into the future? Here is an argument in the publish2 blog that says news organizations should maximize their reporting by rounding up the comments from various bloggers. Even offers an example.

OK, that’s enough for now. Keep thinking now. If these notes offer any advice, it’s that the cleverest and most fluid thinkers will win. Your thoughts? Punch the comments button and add them here.


What Makes Writing Remarkable?

Intrepid writers, as you write well here, please keep your focus on our assignment. Your job in these postings is to drill down to analyze what makes the writing special. Thrill us with your discoveries.

Don’t be satisfied to simply summarize the stories or share some cool news. I’m finding some otherwise nice posts here that never mention the writing. It’s true that good writing involves finding and telling interesting stories. But please address the writing directly.

I’m eager to read your examinations of the writing itself.

Think hard in this post-turkey time. Watch for nice phrasing and word play. Active verbs? Clever lines? Active sentences? Emotional cues? How? Some funny references? Explain the humor. How would the story rank on the fog index? Look at narrative strategies. How did the writer structure the story? Does the writer use repetition as a device? How many direct quotations do you find? And how well does the writer maintain control over the flow of the story?

As you write your posts, ask this, too: Am I writing remarkably well? If you’ve already filed, good, but you can edit and revise.

Take a look at Jennifer Henricks’ and Scott Seel’s posts below for nice references to writing. Theirs aren’t the only ones here, but thy offer nice examples.

With the projection: How networks reported

Correct me if I’m wrong, but looks like networks waited until 11 p.m. to declare Obama as the next president. CNN was ready, giving its many commentators lots of time to discuss — often emotionally — the meaning of the historic election of an African-American as president.

When I switched to other networks, I heard more commentary on the campaign strategies than on the social significance.

McCain didn’t waste much time, did he, to give his concession speech, which clearly was pre-written. He was generous in the way Peggy Noonan described in her commentary. On ABC, a commentator said this: “That was not a speech thrown together in a few minutes. That was a very classy speech.”

By 9:30 p.m., CBS broadcasters were pointing out that there was almost no way for Obama to lose, but the big declarations seem to have waited until the polls on the West Coast closed.

Please add your observations.

Two excellent articles on presidential election

Two pieces worth reading:

Peggy Noonan’s nice Declarations column is titled Obama and the Runaway Train. It is a generous and elegant look at the candidates — and the sweep of political history — as the campaigns finally end. It ran Friday in the Wall Street Journal.

Tom Friedman’s column today in the New York Times carries the odd headline of Vote for ( ). It suggests that campaign rhetoric of recent months does not match the grim reality of the problems the next president will confront. The headline’s empty parentheses symbolizes Friedman’s unwillingness to say who he wants to win. Rather than name a person, he lists the characteristics the new president will need.

Do you find similarities in the two pieces? If so, what are they? Be the first, second, eighth or twenty-third to comment!

Says an admiring Scott: ‘Your online writing is hot’

Now we’re getting it. More of your revisions are starting to appear tonight, and I’m sitting here staring at the screen and smiling. (Pretend the camera is right there behind the active verbs.) Quite a change!

Subheads: I could learn to like these boldface lines

Writing for this form shifts our attention to new details, including design. We have more control over the look, though not total control. (If you too spent the last 20 minutes toying with the icons on your editing bar, you know what I mean.) Over time, we’ll gain a better sense of how to use these tools to produce attractive design. For now, I’m glad you’re experimenting.

Forget not: You can fix misteaks mistakes

Here’s another benefit of writing for digital platforms. You can go back unlimited times to punch up your prose or delete dreary phrasing. Just click on that word that keeps popping up at the end of your entry. Our ever-at-work word: Edit.

Is chunky writing easier to read?

You tell me. After absorbing these revised works, do you find the entries better? Is this style easier to follow than miles of lines of plain type? For more suggestions about online writing, check out this busy blog by Mindy McAdams, a professor at the University of Florida‘s College of Journalism and Communications. She is one of the leaders in this field.

But never forget the purpose

Yo. This sort of writing is fun. But it still should carry a clear purpose. As media writers, we’re still in the game of offering trustworthy information to our audiences. In journalistic situations, we might even say that, in any form, we’re still after the truth. On that sterling point, risk a click on The Project for Excellence in Journalism. Then tell me what you think.

Three reasons to succeed here online:

  1. Instantly impress friends and strangers.
  2. Future bosses are scouting web for emerging talent.
  3. Promotes your potential and your blogospheric future.

When Teaching Rocks

I’m currently infatuated with all of my students. Yes, if you mean what you write, you’re making sharp little discoveries. They add up; you’ll see. You can grow into superb writers. Please do! 🙂

Write Your Own Future

The people who produce one of the big trade publications for journalists, Columbia Journalism Review, have a new idea. They want you to tell them where journalism is going to take you in another five years.

They want to hear from young journalists and journalism students. I found the announcement on a blog of the Society of Professional Journalists. As you probably know, we have an SPJ student chapter here at Elon, and our students do some good stuff.

The idea of asking young journalists for their views follows an earlier initiative when SPJ invited personal stories from the many people who lately have been leaving because of layoffs and buyouts in struggling media organizations.

It’s a bit like seeking an antidote for the despair and frustrations of the previous generation.

So it’s your turn.

The central questions: What do you see in this business that makes you
still want to pursue it? How do you imagine people will get quality news five
years down the road? How will you try to fit in?

Click here to read about this invitation.

May 2018
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