Writing – The Foundation

The reason for all the technology Broadcast Newsroom Computing reports on is writing.  It’s the foundation of everything along the production process for news.

BNC presents  resources for honing your craft in the present time and the longstanding tradition of the free Internet.  Sometime ago I found Dr. Bob Stepno’s blog on web writing.  Dr. Stepno teaches at Radford University in Virginia.  He has updated his Web Writing in Journalism Classes post.

Dr. Stepno cites Jakob Nielsen’s commercial but useful web site on web usability.  Compare usability to whether the viewer can stand to watch the quality of picture you’re presenting or the listener the sound or the reader the text .  There’s a lot of useful free information at useit.com like Nielsen’s discussion of the most basic “inverted pyramid” writing style.  Dr. Stepno’s blog takes you to all the pertinent free information on useit.com.

There’s an excellent comparison of the differences and similarities in writing styles across platforms – broadcasting, print, video and the Internet – in Dr. Stepno’s blog and then he takes you to the ultimate in storytelling.  He points you to sites offering basics in multi-media journalism.

When you look at the dates on some sources Dr. Stepno cites you’ll think the material is old but it’s relevant because finally the expectations in the workplace match the technology available.  Sometimes the workplace desires even go beyond what technology offers.

So despite its almost four year old dateline the Knight Digital Media Center’s “Flash journalism: Professional Practice Today” is right on for understanding the place of multi-media content in journalism.  If PowerPoint is the reporting tool of many public school students then Flash is the storytelling tool of higher education today.  Watch out because Flash is making way into the mainstream at breakneck speed and I suspect your news desk before you expect.

Look over the tutorial offerings at the Digital Media Center and you’ll find some basic knowledge resources.  These are good starting places.  Education or training is ongoing these days as there will always be a better tool coming to market.  Acquiring the basics that vendor training often omits is easy.

The suggestions Broadcast Newsroom Computing offers hopefully will assist you telling better and more compelling stories.

I hope you read Jonathan Rosenberg’s email to Googlers last week.  If you missed Google’s Vice-president’s treatise please read it.  He offered an explanation of how news will be consumed and produced henceforth.

Check in tomorrow for ways to meet the news consumers expectations and where to find resources on the Internet.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company

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