Archive for December 5th, 2006

Want to blog? Here are 10 tips

5 December 2006

It’s still pretty unheard of in India—the whole concept of editorial blogs, where reporters, photographers, editors ventilate on any and every issue under the sun, especially that which happens in their very universe. So, journalists who want to blog (or who should) have little or no guidance on how to go about it. And are way too vain to ask.

But here’s help. Dallas Morning News Editorial Page Editor Keven Ann Willey who led her staff in launching America’s first editorial page blog, provides these suggestions to journalists on how to blog, culled from a piece on American Journalism Review:

1. Be brief and informal. Breezy, conversational tone is good. Two hundred words is too long. Go for the quick hit, light touch, witty aside. Attitude required.

2. Don’t be too proud to blog.

3. Respond to previous blog postings. This is about conversation, after all. It’s the back and forth that makes a blog engaging.

4. Vary your topics. Don’t be a wonk.

5. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your mother to read in the paper.

6. Use hyperlinks.

7. Incorporate interesting, provocative reader e-mail. The best blogs are two-way streets.

8. Be quick to correct yourself.

9. Don’t feel obligated to answer all blog-generated e-mail.

10. Don’t over edit; but designate a blog boss.

If 70 kg of gold is worth Rs 56 lakh, then…

5 December 2006

Today’s not a good day if you were the sub who edited the Thulabharam story on page 9.

We get the name of the person who weighed himself against 70 kilograms of gold wrong (it’s P N C Menon, not T N C Menon). We spell Bangalore-based as “angalore-based”. And, wonder of wonders, we say that 70 kg of gold is worth Rs 56,00,000 (that’s 56 lakh rupees).

The first mistake is understandable; the story came by wire and P may have become T. But how tough is it to spell Bangalore right? And worse, how tough is it to explain how much 70 kg of gold is worth in rupees at today’s gold rates.

We print a set of indicators on page one every day, and a gram of gold is worth Rs 913. Multiply that by 1,000 for a kilogram of gold, which is Rs 913,000. Multiply that by 70 for the total value, which is Rs 6.39 crore.

Journalism is largely about explaining things to readers, to help him make sense of a complex world. How difficult is it for us to do on a constant basis? And how difficult is it to try?

To top it all, we put a captivating “Bangalore” story on page 9, and this after Eapen Panicker had “saved” the story for page one. Amen.

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