Re: Journalist to tech writer

Subject: Re: Journalist to tech writer
From: Angela Salley <Angela -dot- Salley -at- usa -dot- alcatel -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 09:10:59 -0600

Walter Crockett wrote:

Once you've
> knocked on someone's door uninvited to ask them how it feels now that their
> kid is dead (and we had to do an awful lot of that in the '80s) it isn't so
> hard to approach a taciturn engineer.

I have to agree on this point! There is nothing worse or more difficult
than bothering someone you know just lost a loved one. It was the
hardest part of the job.

>The best writers in both fields, however, are
> enthusiastic about their jobs and are dedicated to constant learning.

You make an excellent point here as well. Unfortunately, I'm seeing more
and more who just want to do the job and do not care about learning or

> Technical writing does demand one skill that I didn't really learn in
> journalism, the ability to maintain a positive attitude and a sense of
> purpose in the face of one's bottomless and terrifying ignorance of much of
> the subject matter. Every time I change jobs I feel like I just parachuted
> into China, or Turkey, or some other place where the language, the customs,
> and all the shared knowledge are totally foreign to me. In journalism you
> visit these foreign places for a day or a week and do the best you can. In
> tech writing, you must become a native.

This is good too. I never really thought about it from that perspective,
but you are right! The language, customs, styles, etc. change from place
to place just like it was a whole new country.

Angela Salley

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