Businessweek Archives

The Fate of Generalities


One of the skills of doing a story for a print pubication is getting the ideas to fit on the page. Unlike an online article or a blog post, you have limitations and those are fixed. You only have so many words that you can fit.

It’s increasingly frustrating, as much as it’s an art form. It may be that because we have to write for a more general audience, we end up having to explain things that we would never have to explain online or in a blog post. That means that there is a lot less room to fit in the reporting we do for a story that provides layers of information and nuance.

I wonder also, whether it’s the whole feedback loop. We only hear from magazine readers in focus groups or in letters or emails. And often enough, when it’s a letter or email about a specific story, it’s a complaint, like the way some folks complained when they said we didn’t explain blogging enough when we wrote about it in a cover story a couple of years ago. The point is, it’s harder to understand whether we’re being too general or not general enough.

The trick about being general as the media world changes is that if you’re too general, you’re going to lose the audience. People are looking for more indepth knowledge. So while I am convinced that there’s an audience that can’t track everything that the Techmeme crowd tracks each day, i worry that being too general isn’t the answer either.


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