Make it Work
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As always, we’re busy reading the wires and scanning pages of magazines to find what we consider the top reads for freelance writers interested in perfecting their craft and building their business. This week: Journalists need to use GIFs, advice for writers from the Guardian, and one copywriter eats only Olympic-branded goods.
Is the job of a political journalist to be more like a straight reporter or a “fact checker?” NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) considers this question in a recent piece about Washington Post Aaron Blake and a recent blog post he reported on political advertising. “Here we have a dispute. But the dispute has yet to break into the open among journalists. I wish it would, because it would be fascinating to see who lines up where,” Rosen said.
Winston Churchill. Wartime leader. Famed Statesman. Defender of the Empire. And now, quite possibly, the first to receive a message containing the abbreviation “OMG.” i09 reports that the abbreviation could be nearly 100 years old. “Perhaps the first usage of “OMG” appeared in a 1917 correspondence from British Admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher to Winston Churchill, wherein Fisher excitedly relayed the phrase to his former Royal Navy colleague.”
The Guardian wants to help writers! No, no, they don’t want to hire you, they just want to tell you how you could get hired, possibly, if you’re really lucky. The website tapped their writers and writers from the Times and Journalism.co.uk for advice on what tools journalists of tomorrow need to survive. The advice doesn’t include wearing a fedora with a press sign in the brim, but Martin Belam of the Guardian does suggest writers learn a little code. I know, it gives me chills too.
If you’re a journo do you need to know about animated GIFs? According to Poynter.com, yes indeed. Wait, animated GIFs … aren’t they like so Myspace ago? Poynter says they are back, and in fact, we are in the middle of GIF renaissance. If this is the case, who holds the keys to the GIFdom? Tumblr. “It makes sense that animated GIFs’ fortunes have grown in tandem with Tumblr’s skyrocketing pageviews. Message-board communities like Fark and Reddit kept the GIF alive after MySpace fizzled, but it’s Tumblr’s highly visual structure and reblogging functionality that has enabled GIFs to go viral and find a wider audience,” Poynter’s Anne Friedman reports.
Draftfcb Chicago copywriter Terin Izil is limiting herself to using only Olympic-branded goods. This means eating, drinking and washing with only the products used by athletes. She’s documenting her experience and looking for sponsors. All earnings will be donated to Camp Promise, a summer camp for kids with muscular dystrophy. Pretty cool, no? Read more about her on Ad Week.
Mashable.com reports on Wikipedia’s gender gap. This story might fall into the “no duh” category, but after looking at the numbers, the gap reads more like a gender canyon. “While studies show that men and women use Wikipedia evenly, 91% of the collaborative encyclopedia’s editors are male,” Matt Silverman said.
And finally, Wired.com on how not to end up like Wired staff writer Mat Honan … Times columnist Caitlin Moran talks with the Hairpin on How to Be a Woman … Shane Jones fought second-novel syndrome and won! … Why the countries with freedom of press are the happiest countries around … and on a more somber note, The New Statesman reports on the danger of being a journalist abroad during what is considered “one of the bloodiest periods of recent times.”
Image Courtesy of i09.com