Re: Advice for a regular journalist?

Subject: Re: Advice for a regular journalist?
From: Chuck Martin <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 10:46:33 -0700

Bruce Byfield wrote:

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.

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.
The day may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our
friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day!
This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf


ROBOHELP X5: Featuring Word 2003 support, Content Management, Multi-Author
support, PDF and XML support and much more!

WEBWORKS FINALDRAFT: New! Document review system for Word and FrameMaker
authors. Automatic browser-based drafts with unlimited reviewers. Full
online discussions -- no Web server needed!
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Samples Query
Next by Author: "Type" vs. "Enter"
Previous by Thread: Re: Advice for a regular journalist?
Next by Thread: Help link validator?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads