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WRITING-AND-THE-DIGITAL-LIFE  May 2005

WRITING-AND-THE-DIGITAL-LIFE May 2005

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Subject:

Re: May Topic: Technophobia, writers and writing

From:

Sue Thomas <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Thu, 19 May 2005 09:50:44 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (54 lines)

Hi Sam, and welcome. This list is very much about the interaction between
people and technologies and I think what people have been saying is that
many journalists are unable to comment intelligently on the impact of new
technologies because they have not taken the time to involve themselves.

One may imagine that immersion in every story one writes is irrelevant and
impractical but the internet is an important example of where this is not
true. The example I would use is - imagine being asked to write a restaurant
review without ever having sat down and eaten in one. You could peer through
the glass and make some observations, but without an understanding of the
menu or an appreciation of the ways things work in restaurants, your
commentary would be pretty uninformed and meaningless.

The same is true, for example, of journalists who comment endlessly on
'chatrooms' without ever having spent any amount of time in one (a flying
one-off logon doesn't count!) and often confuse them with asynchronous
message boards. Not only is this shoddy journalism, it can also be
irresponsible and dangerous.

That's what people were getting at, I think.

Best

Sue



Subject: Re: [WDL] May Topic: Technophobia, writers and writing

Hi - everyone on this list.

My name is Sam and I signed up to this list at the start - and until now
haven't felt engaged enough (or courageous enough) to take part. I'm a
journalist and a writer, and am currently involved in training projects
aimed at improving the skills of working journalists. That includes
introducing many of them to new technology.

So I'm particularly interested in the comments below. I think that
journalists are pretty much like the rest of the population (and that's, in
principle, a good thing) in having a sizeable minority of both technophobes
and early-adopters (or zealots) among them; but that the majority belong
with the herd - though the smart ones may run along on the outside for a
good view.

My own position is that (good?) journalists should be less interested in the
new processes and the new technologies per se, than in why they excite some
people so much, or terrify others. Yes - journalists are paid to be curious
- but on the whole they should be more curious about people rather than
about things and ideas and technologies. New technologies can help them meet
deadlines, but I'm also concerned that the breadth and depth of (sometime
unreliable) information available can also distract from their core business
of getting out and meeting people, and telling their stories.

Sam

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