Writing help

October 6, 2006

I received the following email about a newsletter to help folks write well. I haven’t visited the URL yet, so I can’t vouch for its usefulness, but here’s the invite:

Dear Journalism Educator:

We are pleased to share the link to the online version of our Fall 2006 “Coaching Corner” newsletter, which highlights our Journalism Writing Center and includes research and commentary on the teaching of writing.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please let me know. Thank you for your consideration.

Regards,
Mark H. Massé
Professor
Director, Journalism Writing Center
Department of Journalism
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306
mhmasse@bsu.edu
765-285-8222 (office)


Doc Searls schools newspapers on their Web sites

October 6, 2006

One of the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto, Doc Searls has 10 ideas for newspapers online. They’re good. Many echo my article in Into the Blogosphere. From his blog:

So, to help the papers out (as I did for public radio on Tuesday), I immodestly offer ten hopefully helpful clues…”

the full post

Doc’s blog

A few of his ideas:

First, stop giving away the news and charging for the olds. Okay, give away the news, if you have to, on your website. There’s advertising money there. But please, open up the archives. Stop putting tomorrow’s fishwrap behind paywalls. Writers hate it. Readers hate it. Worst of all, Google and Yahoo and Technorati and Icerocket and all your other search engines ignore it. Today we see the networked world through search engines. Hiding your archives behind a paywall makes your part of the world completely invisilble. If you open the archives, and make them crawlable by search engine spiders, your authority in your commmunity will increase immeasurably. Plus, you’ll open all that inventory to advertising possibilities. And I’ll betcha you’ll make more money with advertising than you ever made selling stale editorial to readers who hate paying for it. (And please, let’s not talk about Times Select. Your paper’s not the NY Times, and the jury is waaay out on that thing.)

Second, start featuring archived stuff on the paper’s website. Link back to as many of your archives as you can. Get writers in the habit of sourcing and linking to archival editorial. This will give search engine spiders paths to wander back in those archives as well. Result: more readers, more authority, more respect, higher PageRank and higher-level results in searches. In fact, it would be a good idea to have one page on the paper’s website that has links (or links to links, in an outline) back to every archived item.

Fourth, start following, and linking to, local bloggers and even competing papers (such as the local arts weeklies). You’re not the only game in town anymore, and haven’t been for some time. Instead you’re the biggest fish in your pond’s ecosystem. Learn to get along and support each other, and everybody will benefit.

Fifth, start looking toward the best of those bloggers as potential stringers. Or at least as partners in shared job of informing the community about What’s Going On and What Matters Around Here. The blogosphere is thick with obsessives who write (often with more authority than anybody inside the paper) on topics like water quality, politics, road improvement, historical preservation, performing artisty and a zillion other topics.


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