learning curve

I have been trying to write my article on whether good journalism will be the first casualty of the digital revolution, and I think I have reached the answer. No, I will be.

Just out of curiosity, I decided to post the question on the online community group, e-mint that Joanna Geary advised me to join. So, just before 10am this morning I popped this on there and set off for CJS. When I returned, I logged back on to see whether anyone had got back to me and I was surprised to find that there were quite a few replies.

I found that people disagreed with me, agreed with me, pointed me in the direction of Adam Tinworth’s blog, corrected me and posed me further questions.

As I read through all of the comments and began replying to them, I realised that it was the first time that something I had published had sparked that much conversation. I had brought up an issue and conversation had grown around it in an online community.

The humongous learning curve – roughly equated to the curvature of the earth – was about to come. If,  something I had written was to provoke that much intelligent response and conversation, why did I only take two minutes to write my thoughts? When I am in the process of writing a feature, it takes hours of research, fact checking and no less than two drafts, never mind the countless cups of coffee. Why should I have treated this any differently?

The curse of instantaneous publishing. I didn’t just fall into the massive black hole staring me in the face, but voluntarily plopped myself in there.

Silly girl.


Filed under journalism, online

4 responses to “learning curve

  1. Chris Graves

    “The curse of instantaneous publishing” – this is the same as the curse of “instantaneous send” in an email client. Some learn to sleep on a controversial email before, likewise some learn to weigh-up and save as “draft” before “publism and damned”

  2. Joanna Geary

    Hi Ruth,

    I saw your post to e-mint – well done for getting involved! I think the response you got was fantastic.

    A question I’m interested in asking: do you think you would you have had a better response if you had spent 2 hours, rather than 2 minutes crafting your question? If so, why? If not, why not?

    I’m not suggesting that you put less thought into what you write – Chris is right about thinking before sending – but perhaps it’s worth questioning what the appropriate style and length is for this arena?

    I think answering this will get you closer to understanding how online communities function and why they are important.

    It’s also a great example of why, online, journalists shouldn’t really see their printed article as a finished product. See Paul Bradshaw’s News Diamond model for a better explanation of this: http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2007/09/17/a-model-for-the-21st-century-newsroom-pt1-the-news-diamond/

    I think it would be great if you kept up your relationship and the conversations you’re having within e-mint. I hope you’ll be able to feed back to them the things you’ve learnt from writing your essay – something I’m sure many would value.


  3. Chris

    Yes its a judgement issue – sometimes a quick turn-around is needed and the impact of a misworded sentence will be low. (cf. my quick turn-around yesterday with a typo and missing word.)

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