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Do-it-yourself journalism: Rewrite a BusinessWeek story


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December 08, 2005

Do-it-yourself journalism: Rewrite a BusinessWeek story

Stephen Baker

Think a BusinessWeek story missed an important point? It happens all the time. But here's an exercise for you: Which paragraph would you put it into, and what would you cut to make the space? Those thoughts occurred to me as I read this comment from a reader:

It was a good article overall. I do (selfishly yet honestly) think it was lazy reporting to write an article about this generation and fail to mention that LiveJournal... has been helping millions of teens create online/offline identities and express themselves for 6 years now.

Here's the exercise: If you think the mention of LiveJournal should go in the story, figure out which paragraph it should go into. Rewrite that paragraph, including it, and make sure that the paragraph still flows well into the following one. Then, somewhere in the article, find an the same amount of text to cut, so that the story still fits in its space.

Granted, with media moving more and more online, such editing to the limitations of print can seem a bit quaint. But it's a useful exercise. I don't doubt for a minute that many of you can pull it off. But it's not easy. I've been working at it for three days straight... and I'm fit to be tied. And after I get back from four days in Oregon, I have another week of it.

12:15 AM

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You might squeeze a mention in here someplace:

"Millions also hang out at other up-and-coming networks such as Facebook.com, which connects college students, and Xanga.com, an agglomeration of shared blogs..."

Of course the article was primarily about MySpace, so it doesn't seem absolutely necessary to have mentioned LiveJournal. Another option, of course, is to have a longer article with additional links/resources/history online.

Posted by: Chuck Olsen at December 8, 2005 01:26 AM

Very good topic to bring up, especially as you rightly say, media is moving online and the evolution towards conversation rather than just reading passively. However, I wish you'd made the question open ended and not just on the live journal article :) I have a few bones to pick on a survey up on the innovation section.

Posted by: Niti Bhan at December 8, 2005 05:17 AM

Nicely done, Chuck. My only question is whether MySpace, which has been around for six years, can be called an "up-and-coming network."

Niti, send in your fixes for the innovation survey, or any other story you think needs some work. Thanks.

Posted by: steve baker at December 8, 2005 07:42 AM

Hi Steve,

Just posted the questions regarding the survey on our design and innovation discussion board in the meantime, so here's the url instead,

http://boards.core77.com/viewtopic.php?t=7213

it's a great idea, but we're curious as to how and why.

Posted by: Niti Bhan at December 8, 2005 10:16 AM


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