Pig Piglets
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‘We Are Web Journalists’

Three days ago I laughed hysterically at Nate Dern’s Funny or Die post “The First Rule Of Web Journalism Is You Don’t Fact Check Web Journalism“. This poke-in-the-gut missive is so close to the truth, I almost couldn’t chuckle. The second rule is the same as the first, by the way.

Snippet:  “The eighth rule of web journalism is that if it’s too good to be true, you have to post it. The story goes up. It goes viral. It’s revealed to be fake. The apology goes up. The apology goes viral. You forget about it in a day and we’ll do it again in a week”. Funny because it’s true! [Read more]

Stormtroopers
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News Gatherers, Follow the Reporting!

When starting to write last night’s commentary on the upheaval at the New Republic, I sided firmly with the resigning staff. After all, they apparently stand firm for journalistic integrity and preserving an institution that reached a century’s publication in September. But the more I researched, the more obvious the wisdom changing the magazine’s editorial distribution approach and relocating to New York. I followed the reporting rather than personal preconceptions, or biases.

I started with headline: “Say Goodbye to the Old Republic”, choosing the above photo of stormtroopers snapped during Comic-Con 2014. I assumed that anyone who ever watched Star Wars—and who hasn’t—would get the hed and art combo. But midway through writing and research, which I often do simultaneously in one draft, the story shifted somewhere else. When finished writing, I changed headline to “Say Hello to the New Republic” and photo to Manhattan’s Soho district. After some deliberation about burying the lede, I tacked on an addition to the first paragraph: “which, by the way, is totally sensible”, referring to the “magazine’s massive makeover”. The top half remains as written, which I hope doesn’t confuse the reader or misshape the storytelling. [Read more]

Joe's Desk
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I Started Tech Reporting 20 Years Ago

Sometimes I joke about working my way down from editor to reporter. In autumn 1993, I was employed by a now defunct general interest magazine, commissioning, editing, and processing stories—the whole gamut right through design and pagination. For five years a note hung over the light switch to my workspace: “What’s the point?” It’s the question I asked when reading every story, many of them from academics who never seemed capable of making a point or just getting to one.

My career path changed after reading “The Future is Now” by Kate McKenna in what was then called Washington Journalism Review. The lede cajoled: “The last time newspapers were this interested in new technology, they were looking for ways to keep the ink from rubbing off on their readers’ hands. Now they’re exploring how a newspaper can survive, even thrive, without ink—and maybe without paper”. She convinced me the Internet would irrevocably change publishing. [Read more]

Neko Lurks
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Now This is Different

Last night, I moved this site from hosted WordPress (at Media Temple) to WordPress.com. This is the first post at the new locale, which is both strange and familiar. I considered one of two Cyber Monday deals: From MT, moving my two sites from the service’s standard Grid Server to three-blog hosted WordPress—half off for $145/year and substantial savings over my existing setup. WordPress.com offered free, one-year themes package with $99 Premium upgrade, which I would have paid for regardless.

Tipping the decision: Difficulty migrating within Media Temple versus promised ease exporting/importing to WordPress.com; the value of the premium themes, which I will play around with; two-factor authentication; and potentially-improved community connections, among other considerations. I presume there will be some SEO hit, which matters little to me, as readers rather than pageviews are the objective. I don’t use many plugins, and so their limited-availabilty also isn’t a concern. I would want more control over URLs, perhaps, and that’s something sacrificed. [Read more]

Black-Friday
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Black Friday’s Best Deal is Original Content

Matt Burns’ “The Black Friday Survival Guide” is original content as it should be: Clever, funny, provocative, and unique. This piece of craftsmanship, posted yesterday to TechCrunch, stands apart from the dribble that all looks alike, because it is—lazy aggregators copying news someone else reports, or too often similarly regurgitates. Puke is gross. Let’s not remake and rebake as dinner.

His piece of brilliance evokes the classic survival guide recast to the urban landscape, where dangerous predators roam shopping malls huntings deals and around whom anyone with even 10 meters distance risks being collateral damage. The safest place to be on Black Friday is somewhere else. But if you must go out, Matt has your back. [Read more]