Re: Writers, editors, and managers

Subject: Re: Writers, editors, and managers
From: Patience Sibeal Wieland <wieland -at- marinbrillante -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 18 May 2003 15:10:52 -0700

Has anybody else been following the Jayson Blair story at the NY Times?
I didn't pay much attention at first, but now I am plowing through the
news archives in a little more detail:

I really hope people don't think this is off-topic. Ethical standards are important, no matter what kind of writing you do. This also ties into some of the past discussion here about making technical communication more professional. One real high point for journalism, which does have certain, clear standards of professionalism, is that screw-ups are cause for immediate review and discussion throughout the industry ... (On the other hand, the worthiness of going to j-school is still debatable. That parallels discussion about preparing yourself for a career in tech writing: do you get a degree in hard science, a communication degree, or even an MBA in technical writing?)

What's really appealing: newspapers are usually quick to oust liars and incompetents, and then make public apologies and reiterate their standards. Where else do you see that?

Oh, yeah, the Blair store is huge -- coming as it did on the heels of LA Times' photographer Brian Walski being dismissed (he changed a war zone photo to make "a better image") AND on the publication of Stephen Glass' new book "The Fabulist". Glass was the guy who wrote whoppers for the New Republic and passed them off as fact.

Those who are interested in looking at the news industry's newfound hair-tearing about integrity might also want to check out, a non-profit devoted to upholding journalistic ethics and creating/critiquing better journalism.

Sounds pretty dry, but far from it. I try to read it several times a week. A columnist named Jim Romenesko collects the best stories about journalism every day -- fantastic way to learn what's going on in the world that writes the news.


Patience Sibeal Wieland
(818) 846-1563
wieland -at- marinbrillante -dot- com


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