Re: FW: inter-writer relations

Subject: Re: FW: inter-writer relations
From: "Michael A. Lewis" <lewism -at- BRANDLE -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 1997 10:22:01 +1100

Sonja Draeger wrote:
<selected extracts>

> ... as I learnt more, I realised that =
> interviewing a software engineer is quite different from interviewing, =
> say, an immigrant from Ukraine. To write a clear product description is =
> one thing, but to convey the emotional experiences of a person's life is =
> another.

And writing a proposal, or a business case, or a book review, is
something else again.

> Knowing what to ask the s/w guys is easy.

If you know something about software. Remember that one of the earliest
"technical" documents was Chaucer's paper on the astrolabe. He knew
about astrolabes. Francis Bacon laid the foundations of the scientific
method, but he was also an accomplished essayist.

> What spin-off questions should I throw in based on =
> some of his previous answers?=20

Don't you do exactly that when interviewing a SME? Don't most of the
answers you get simply define new options for the evolving discussion?

> For an experienced journalist these thoughts probably pose no issues at =
> all--and I think the key word here is 'experienced'. I'm getting much =
> better at writing profiles now, but it's taken a year of workshopping to =
> get there. I'm not as much of a 'natural' as I thought I was, though no =
> doubt some people can do both on instinct.

I have read "technical" stuff written by journalists that is unmitigated
tripe. ( I have also read technical tripe written by tech writers, but
that's another story.) Yes: the key word is indeed "experienced" -- in
subject matter and in genre.
Michael Lewis
Brandle Pty Limited, Sydney, Australia
: PO Box 1249 : Suite 8, The Watertower :
: Strawberry Hills, NSW 2012 : 1 Marian St, Redfern 2016 :
: Tel +61-2-9310-2224 : Fax +61-2-9310-5056 :

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