NY Times Rules for Blogging

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blogging has become a very popular way of getting your message across to a vast amount of people. Employers look to see if you are writing savvy and a good way to prove this is to have a blog. This week, the New York Times editor Craig Whitney wrote a memo on style for bloggers. It was very helpful, but not very reader friendly.

Here is a version of the rules of professional blogging (in a more friendly format):

  • What should be avoided in all of the blogs are racist, sexist and religious bias. Any nasty, snide, sarcastic, or condescending tones are also undesirable.
  • If something could easily fit into a satirical website for young adults, it probably shouldn't go on news pages of the newyorktimes.com.
  • Contractions, colloquialisms (gonna, y'all, wanna, or phrases like "old as the hills"), and even slang are more allowable in blogs than in print.
  • Obscenity and vulgarity are not (That is, if you want to keep your job).
  • Unverified assertions of fact don't ever belong in blogs.
  • Writers and editors of blogs must also distinguish between personal tone, voice and unqualified personal opinion.
  • A blog or news column has to give enough arguement and fact on both or all sides of the issue to enable a person to agree or disagree.
  • The rule above does not apply to Op-Eds or editorials. These don't require a balanced look from both sides of the debate.
  • Headlines on analysis should try to capture the debate, not take sides.
  • If comments (you are responsible for comments) contain vulgarity, obscenity, offensive personal attacks (saying a person "sucks") or are incoherent, moderators are advised to just chuck them out.

Photo Credit: CreativeCommons, user: Digiart2001.


NYT Wants you to PAY for News?

Effective Monday the pay wall has arrive at the New York Times website. Most of us are sitting around claiming we won't be paying for news. We think it's crazy for the Times to believe we'll be pay close to $200 a year for their online newspaper when can just go somewhere else and read it for free.

I believe the Times has this under control. Many people who come to their website are brought there from other sources including news aggregators. The Times has decided to allow website browsers 20 free page views. You might be thinking that's not too many. However, people linked to the site from news aggregation sites like Google, won't be using up one of their page views.

Loyal Times customers will pay for access to the website. And casual users won't. As someone who doesn't pay for a newspaper, but will readily read one if it's available, I think this will work for the Times. It will still get them readers who are looking through their paper and see the ads in the paper.

Depending on the number of subscribers to the Times after the pay wall goes up, the price will probably be lowered, prompting more people to pay for the Times online. While many people believe that most won't pay for the Times and won't read it anymore, I believe the Times holds enough prestige among newspapers to garner the payment they're requesting for a little while, until they lower it.


Useful Tips for Social Media Users

Social media creates a world were anyone can be a journalist. However, it takes effort to be a successful social media user.

Spencer Critchley blogged some useful tips for bloggers and social media users to help make their posts reader friendly and respectable.

It is important to know your point and get to it quickly in order to respect the value of your readers time.

The focus of your post should be strong and the content following should relate. A focused post should be a simple idea that people are interested in.

The post or article should be appealing. It helps when a post or article has an emotional content.
Its important to write about people, actions and physical objects no matter your subject. These engage the imagination and emotions of your readers.

Write in a simple fashion. If you can't say it in a simple way that may indicate you don't understand what your writing well enough.

Focus on nouns and verbs and less on adjectives and adverbs.

Opinions are not facts. Opinions can make personal journalism lively when they are used appropriately. It is essential to know the difference between fact and opinion.

Identify sources so the audience knows where the information came from. That way the audience can judge your information's credibility.

Make sure to check your work for spelling errors and make sure to spell names right.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Jane Pratt to fight "Beauty Pressure"?

Recently I watched the movie Killing Us Softly 4 for a class and was faced with a barrage of images of women revealing it all in the name of... Budweiser.

Most of us have probably seen some advertisement from the recent Dove campaign that spawned this powerful commercial.

As demonstrated in the commercial, there are many influences weighing down our young girls today-- and the vast majority encourage unhealthy weight goals, subservience to patriarchs, and unrealistic, narrowly-defined appearance standards.

Can the media become a tool for encouraging self-esteem, appreciation of your natural body type, and the true realization of equality between men and women? Maybe, but it will be a slow road.

Jane Pratt, of Jane magazine and Sassy magazine fame, has started up yet another journalism venture. And this time, she's employing free lance writers that are still in high school, meaning the content will be age-appropriate and real.

The magazine will come with extensive Web content, something Pratt says she has been interested in for a long time: "It feels like the technology has finally caught up with what I want to do."

Will Pratt achieve a magazine and Web content that actually works to promote the self-esteem and independence of coming generations of tomorrow's female magnates?

Many successful women of today credit Sassy with helping them get to their current positions in society, but getting the good media to stick with our young women is increasingly difficult as the barrage of bad media is accessible from even more sources.

Unfortunately, not much in the write up on Jane Pratt's new ventures speaks directly to changing the way that women of today view themselves and develop their identity. However, with new content coming directly from female high school students, the issues are bound to present themselves. All that is left is to see how well they are addressed.

Video courtesy of Dove, via YouTube.


Why the New York Times Online Strategy Will Fail

If you are interested in news business, you all know that the New York Times has decided to offer online content only to those who subscribe.

The subscription is $35 per month to access the site on a computer, a smartphone and an Ipad, when it is only $15 dollars to get computer access only.

Do you think this marketing strategy will work?

Obviously, it is understandable that the New York Times is losing when people read their articles online and don't buy the print version anymore.

The New York Times hopes that the most online frequent readers will subscribe to get their news because they are used to read those online.

But the problem is that readers could still have access of New York Times articles through links all over the web. For example, news aggregators provide links that lead right to the article while keeping it free.

Some New York Times readers explain why they won't pay to access site online.

"There are other reputable sources that are free, and the editorials on the Times page, if they are worth, will be passed around via social media," says Ditto, a 29-year-old attorney.

Some people think that this is a strategy to sell more print version rather than make money online strategy. The New York Times pricing seems designed not to get people to subscribe digitally, but rather to discourage existing subscribers from canceling their print subscriptions.

Photo credits: Paris, Museum Of Arts, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.


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