Jackson shares the Daily Mail news as he helps write it

HTWB Jackson small

Jackson Rawlings in his current job: “we have to create content so invasive and permeating that it is consumed everywhere from the train to the loo.”

A big welcome back to our very own Jackson Rawlings (as in HTWB Students writing fame) who has now ascended to dizzy heights in cyberspace, as a Blogger Outreach Specialist at the Daily Mailno less. Our sincere – and very well deserved – congrats to him … and here’s his fascinating account of the brave new world of news gathering, 21st century style…

Marble. So much marble.

That was my first thought as I entered the palatial surroundings of my new workplace… [Read more…]

How to be a grown-up journalist: news reporting

origin_2567469865Former Fleet Street journalist Rhiannon Daniel shares her tips on how to use traditional reporting skills to get your content into the main news media…

In this series of four pieces – they never call them ‘articles – I’ll introduce the major stuff you’ll need to know if you want to sell work into the traditional news and magazine media.

Writing for newspapers and magazines – offline or online – isn’t like any other kind of writing. It requires a wide skillset.

News gathering, editorial decisions, writing skills and editing

So you want to write for the news media? [Read more…]

Blogging vs professional reporting: journaling vs journalism?

A while back I put up a post on Facebook suggesting that maybe blogging and journalism are approaching something of a head-to-head online, considering the way that all our news and features media seem to be merging. The reactions I got were quite stark.

One US TV journalist said the key differences between the two are the fact that journalists have deadlines and editors to contend with – major issues bloggers don’t share, and that’s true, for sure. Someone else sent me a private message saying the two disciplines had nothing whatsoever to do with each other and I should be ashamed of myself for even suggesting there may be a conflict here.

When you strip the whole blogging story down to its underwear, you can see where the journos are coming from in their somewhat dismissive attitude towards bloggers. Blogging started out as an online platform for “journaling,” which is light years away from journalism.

Journaling: not the same as keeping a diary, but not reporting either

I won’t refer you to any onward links here although there are several on Google, but essentially the difference between keeping a diary and journaling is this: a diary is purely a record of your events – a journal is a record of your events along with your comments and views about those events.

This is where blogging started and as we all know it has evolved dramatically, which is where the dividing line between it and journalism begins to dissolve slightly. Many blogs today – deliberately or accidentally – cross over the invisible line into what perhaps we should call “alternative online journalism.” But should bloggers begin to think of themselves as journalists? Hmmm…

How do the journalists feel?

When you ask a journalist how they regard bloggers their answers have a tendency to be negative. However you can’t be surprised to find that traditional, professional journalism appears to be threatened not just by bloggers, but by the entire freedom of the internet which gallops over many disciplines like young horses having just broken out of a field.

Obviously when you consider news reporting, there’s no contest. But it’s in the area of features and particularly journalistic opinion pieces where the potential conflict may lie. Journalists have spent years studying and serving apprenticeships so they can report and comment in a professional way about the topics they cover. But in recent years, along comes the internet and opens up a huge new forum in which anybody can report on events and express opinions … unfettered by editorial policy, deadlines, or – let’s face it – ethical considerations.

A number of journalistic organisations like this one are uneasy about this and you can’t blame them.

Could journaling and journalism share a future?

This is something that worries me, and I’m sure worries many journalists. Although I have spent many years writing in the utterly commercial sector I was trained originally as a journalist (served my apprenticeship on a UK local newspaper.) And when I write posts like this, I try as far as I can to be fair and represent – or at least point out – all points of view.

But this is blogging. Where could it lead us? Should it attempt to swamp good old-fashioned traditional journalism? Or should we all work towards maintaining a respectful division between the two?

You might like to take a look at “A Blogger’s Code of Ethics” from CyberJournalist.net (a very useful and up-to-date resource dealing with just these issues.) It attempts to a) suggest how bloggers should approach their responsibility to their readers and b) differentiate themselves from professional journalists .

I’m very interested to know how you feel about this one, so please, share your views!

Whatever you write, do it right:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English