Tag: present tense

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Three Words That Go Oddly Together: ‘BuzzFeed’, ‘News’, ‘Investigation’

Among the many posts in my Google+ feed this AM is link to “Fostering Profits“, which dek begins: “A BuzzFeed News investigation”. My initial reading stopped there. What the frak? For the king of linkbaiting, “news” and “investigation” look wrong.

But as a Neiman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard video interview indicates, and as I explain in my ebook Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers, BuzzFeed seeks to be more than the list-linker to the Millennial generation. I am not so much skeptical as critical. The writing needs to be crisper and more inviting than this news story. I suggest editors take cues from Mother JonesVice News or Rolling Stone contributor Matt Taibbi rather than from ProPublica

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I write Affirmative Headlines

This morning, I responded to a Betanews commenter who asks: “I’m curious though about one thing and have been for a time. Does a Editor or someone else choose your titles or do you?” He responded to my story “I’m Microsoft All-In“, writing: “I personally have found my groove with ‘All-in Apple. for many years.

He asks a good question, and I answer at length, which I share below (and not in block quotes for readability reasons):

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You Live in the Present, Write That Way

If you want your writing to impact, be present. Past tense weakens the narrative and deadens the emotional connection with readers.

Present tense is a weapon, which use raises body counts. Over at the BetaNews, some commenters consistently accuse me of being an overly-emotional writer. I cock my head and laugh, because just the opposite is true. Ambivalence is my feeling about 95 percent of stories, if not more. But accusations persist that I am a killer. For sure—of past tense.