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AEJMC : Expanding Writing Capabilities Via Links

Oh, excellent. I’m blogging this from the AEJMC conference. Even though I can’t get a live connection to the Internet, my Zoundry Blog Writer allows me to at least save everything in blog form, which I can then launch once I get into a wireless zone. I am in a session on Re-Defining Writing: New Models of Journalism Practice.

Brooke Kroeger, left, of New York University is talking about how with linking and link editing we can produce a new effectiveAEJMC Conf Brooke Kroeger.jpge way of producing journalism. Imagine a 400 or 500 word story that via links can provide maps, counter arguments, snippets, whole speeches, original sources etc. She says link editing should be part of the copy editing job. So a little story that any 6th grader can read can also be linked to an extremely sophisticated information base for a more sophisticated reader. With proper editing and presentation, one story can serve a wide variety of editing needs.

Michele Weldon of Northwestern: Since newspapers get beaten on the news by all the other media, we should change the name from a “newspaper” to the “storypaper.” She thinks the print product will be longer and more narrative in style. Niches rule. For print journalism, they will need very well written stories. She says 73 percent of the 2005 Pulitzer Prizes took a narrative approach. She refers to it as “slow journalism.” A counter movement to the bulleting of stories. She sees more features on the front page. She did research and in 2001 about a third of the front page stories were features, now it is up to 50 percent of the 20 newspapers she studied. News stories are no longer top down, they are bottom up and much more personal.

David Abrahamson of Northwestern we must pursue the analytical scoop, rather than the traditional news scoop. It goes beyond the lead, hook, nut graph, beyond inverted pyramid, while adding a point of view as in long-form writing and the reporter’s hard won “post objective reporting,” which means the reporter can add some of the inside story as seen by him or her.

I like it, but as someone who came up during the new journalism era, the thing that will kill it will be poorly trained editors and reporters who want to do it, but lack both the skills and practice that it necessary to allow this kind of writing to flourish.Three things are needed for narrative stories, excellent reporting, excellent writing techniques and excellent editing.

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