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Dec 17 / King Kaufman

Reading roundup to tide you over a B/R Blog holiday hiatus

The B/R Blog is going to take a hiatus over the holidays. So I thought I’d leave you with some reading material.

This is a bit of a notebook dump, some links I’ve had hanging around, meaning to write posts about. But you can navigate them just fine without my commentary.

Let’s start with an interesting mea culpa by Jeff Jarvis, who is “a journalist and journalism professor who screwed up.”

Jarvis is upset with himself for not properly attributing information he passed along on Twitter about Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut, and for not adding caveats to information he wasn’t sure was true. It’s important stuff for Bleacher Report writers, who often deal with information being passed along via social media.

The B/R Blog has written about this issue many times, notably here and here and here.

If you’re seriously considering a career in journalism, even sports journalism, you want to read this piece in the Wrap Media: Journalists Must Embrace Their Inner Nate Silver to Survive (Study). Putting aside the catchy use of Silver’s name in the headline, the piece, which is about a Columbia Journalism School report called “Post-Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present” by C.W. Anderson, Emily Bell and Clay Shirky, argues that journalists must learn to “use the web to lasso great streams of data and re-purpose it into a readable and engaging form.”

If you’d like to read the report itself, which in print form is a 122-page book, you can do so for free at Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism site.

While we’re on the subject of your future … Jane Friedman, the web editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review, the former publisher of Writer’s Digest and a media studies teacher at the University of Virginia, has a personal website that’s a great resource for writers. She is, in her own words, “clued into the future of the publishing and media industry.”

You should check her site often—I was going to say “bookmark,” but does anyone bookmark sites anymore?—but the blog post I’ve been meaning to point you to was the November edition of her monthly Best Business Advice for Writers.

And finally, a couple of more down-to-earth reads. At the New York Times’ After Deadline copy editing and style blog, Philip B. Corbett goes over some cases When Spell-Check Can’t Help. Homophones, people. They’ll fool you’re spell-checker every thyme.

Side note: The over-under on spellcheck being commonly accepted as one word is 2017.

And finally, here’s an amusing post by David Higgerson, the digital publishing director of the U.K. newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror: Thirty words journalists should stop using … and a simple test to make people reconnect with our work.

It’s a bit Brit-centric for most Bleacher Report writers, the vast majority of whom are American. I can’t remember the last time I read the words “boffin” or “plumped” or the phrase “love rat” in B/R or anywhere else, since I don’t read much U.K. media. But there are plenty of words we see and hear in U.S. media—and only there: Probe, eatery, slammed or blasted (meaning criticized), quizzed, coffers, up in arms. When was the last time you ever spoke any of those words or phrases, or heard them spoken?

That’s where Higgerson’s “simple test” comes in: “It might be a big leap to make, but if you applied the ‘would this word be used in the pub?’ test to everything written, we’d a) have news stories more suited to search but, and perhaps more importantly, b) news stories which people were more likely to respond to.”

Adapt “in the pub” to your own lifestyle.

Have a safe and happy holiday season, Bleacher Reporters. Thanks for reading the B/R Blog in 2012, and for being part of a great community.