Re: Advice for a regular journalist?
I'm moving into a heavily journalistic phrase in my working life. If all goes
well, starting next month, I'll be a regular stringer for a company that runs
half a dozen on-line sites, writing several stories a week on open source. About
half my monthly income will be coming from journalism, and maybe more.
I've being doing high-tech articles for longer than I've been a tech-writer, and
I was even a Contributing Editor at a magazine for a while. However, none of my
past work was down in the trenches, so to speak, filing stories on a regular
basis. As a result, the change is a bit of a stretch
I know that some list members have been journalists, so I was wondering if any
of them had any suggestions about what to expect, how to make the transition,
what mistakes to avoid and - well, anything else that they might be willing to
"Don't" is advice that is probably too late; in my naivety, I'm excited and
pleased about the change. But I'm determined to do it right, so I'll gladly
listen to any advice that anybody choses to give.
I'm not sure how to answer all of your questions, but I can say to go ahead and have fun.
The biggest change is in the style of writing. When you write articles, you're typically telling a story. You're writing for readers who *want* to read what you have to say, not becuase they *need* some kind of information.
Be prepared for editing changes more significant that you'll get in technical publications. Editors may rewrite entire passages or reorganize what you've said, and you may not recognize the result as being something of yours. Depending on the relationship you've built with yoru editors, you may or may not be able to push back; sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and let something go out under your byline. That's especially hard to do when you think you've come up with an especially elegant turn of phrase that gets rewritten or removed.
I've written for newspepers, I've written for journals, I've written and produced the daily newsletter for the Online Help Conference, and I've written for web sites, and although I've sometimes put in long, late hours to meet tight deadlines, I've always enjoyed doing the work.
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