Posted on June 29, 2008
Move your journalism beyond writing
Early last week, someone added an old post from this blog to StumbleUpon. It garnered about 200 pageviews that day, making a little spike in my site traffic report. The post was from December 2006, and I didn’t even remember writing it.
I wrote about how a reporter would do her job if the news organization had fully integrated the online aspects of journalism. It’s probably one of my better posts here. I think it provides good guidelines.
Reading it reminded me of when a few of the Vietnamese journalists pressed me for advice on how to adapt or repurpose their writing for the Web site.
Don’t waste your time doing that, I suggested. It would be much, much better to spend the time producing original work for the Web site, such as audio slideshows, interactive graphics, maps, timelines, etc. Writing is writing — sure, for the Web it should be shorter, faster, tighter, cleaner. It should include some links. Your headlines should be optimized for findability. But heck, get over this lame obsession with writing, everyone!
Journalists are not writers. Journalists are storytellers. Journalists communicate.
Journalists today need to focus on the best way to tell the story, to present the story, to the public. The best way to convey information and make it understandable, to make it clear. Often, that requires more than writing alone.
Related posts, elsewhere:
- Not all information needs to be crafted into a story (Howard Owens)
- I’m not a storyteller — I’m an information provider (Pat Thornton)