Archive for the ‘blog’ Tag

LexisNexis for Blogs

When it comes to worrying about credibility, print reporters have a lot more to worry about than bloggers. If a blog author makes a spelling or factual mistake, maybe a reader will notice and leave a message in the post’s comments section, allowing the author to modify the error. If a reporter makes a mistake, LexisNexis preserves the error in its database for all future employers to see (and even notes the glaring problem at the top of the copy).

As intimidating and unforgiving as it may sound, the threat LexisNexis presents results in a team of editors and the story’s author working together to ensure no mistakes are made. But there’s really no equivalent for bloggers, who increasingly are calling for the same rights and recognitions as journalists.

So if web writers want to take on the responsibilities of being a journalist, we need a database that checks posts on some of the top blogs for errors and misspellings. Web employers could reference all the posts of a particular writer they may consider hiring and see the number and frequency of mistakes in that person’s blogging history.

In the spirit of Web 2.0, this site could use the power of the people by allowing volunteer reviewers — in the vein of Wikipedia — to check posts for errors and report them to the database.

If there was ever a way to legitimize the wild west of blogging, this would certainly be a good start.

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Why I Don’t Read (or Post) Interviews

An interview is a journalist’s and a blogger’s most important tool. The most common advice I’ve heard from reporters is to “talk to people.” And while the interview is necessary, showing it to your readers is not.

I’m noticing a trend among blog authors who conduct an interview and then post the entire transcript. In reality, about 90 percent of content in interviews is worthless.

Sometimes the subject answers questions with vagueness. Sometimes you’ll just get the company jargon for most answers. And some of the worst interview offenders will ask questions like, “What’s your favorite flavor ice-cream?”

No interview is going to be perfect, which is why it’s the reporter’s job to dig through the mess and pick out what’s important, clarifying the points that need elaboration.

Just about the only times you’ll see an interview transcript published in The New York Times is when it’s with vice-president of the United States. Even the TV news networks will edit their interviews down to the respondent’s most interesting responses.

So bloggers: Don’t be lazy. Talk to as many people as you can and put together a post with some substance. No one cares if Bill Gates eats Cherry Garcia on his day off.