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Response to “Writing for Digital Media” Ch. 7

Another fine installment in the sosguy.net response series!
Another fine installment in the sosguy.net response series!

I’m starting to get a bit mentally exhausted. I’ve noticed that as I continue with these posts, it gets harder to be as creative as I was the previous time around. That’s why I found the quote at the beginning of chapter 7 of Writing for Digital Media to be reassuring:

“It’s easy to write poorly, but it’s hard to write poorly every day … It’s hard to write every day.”
– Rebecca Blood, pioneering blogger

Now, I’m not writing every day, but I am writing more than I used to. Months have gone by since the last time I sat down to write, and it’s a bit like exercising every day: the first few times I’m energetic and eager to begin, but after dragging myself to the gym every day for a week I’m about ready to resign myself to the couch.

In chapter 7, Brian Carroll discusses the concept of blogging and journalism, and says that not everyone with a blog is a journalist, just as anyone with a camera is not a photographer. In fact, most bloggers rely on journalism for the content that they critique and respond to. Carroll pointed out several examples of bloggers calling people out and doing fact-checking in response to the news of the time.

Bloggers also help to add a personal context to the news, summarizing it and making it more accessible and understandable. They’ll link to an article and respond to it, just like how I’m responding to my readings.

Carroll also says that news organizations use blogs as supplements to regular news articles, providing a director’s cut version with extras that were omitted from the article. Making these extra resources on-demand instead of putting them into the paper or on TV means that those who want more can check it out, and others won’t be bored by too much information.

The number one thing about blogs according to Carroll is that they must be updated frequently. As per the quote above, that isn’t always easy, but it is easier when you have a source to respond to, like something in the news or a reading for instance.

The second characteristic I drew from the reading is that everything you say should be true, or at least you shouldn’t lie. If you link your source, then people will be able to decide for themselves what is true and what isn’t. If you make a habit of linking to unreliable sources, however, you’re putting your reputation in jeopardy.

If you publish something that’s wrong, be sure to burn the evidence. Another important point is to call yourself out on any corrections you make. Instead of just deleting your posts, consider crossing them out or writing an update to correct your mistake.

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