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Seattle Times Columnist Writes Everything By Hand For Two Days

Monica Guzman wrote everything by hand for two days and photographed each piece of writing.

Monica Guzman wrote everything by hand for two days and photographed each piece of writing.

If you haven’t heard of Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman‘s crazy experiment yet, I’m here to tell you that it’s more important than it may initially seem.

Guzman got to thinking about how much more “writing” humans do than ever before, and especially journalists, what with tweets and Facebook posts to write, reader comments to which to respond, stories, note-taking, transcribing and of course, the dreaded email.

“I wanted to get a more tactile feel for my share of this digital mother lode. So last week, I did something crazy. I wrote everything by hand,” she wrote (or typed?) for the Times.

She says she didn’t do it because she loves writing cramps and cursive.

“I did it to hack my brain. To make it slow down and notice the flurry of digital mutterings it writes and sends so easily, they barely register as mutterings at all.”

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Source Sleuth Looks to Connect Journalists, Bloggers with Quality Sources

source sleuthGood story sources aren’t always easy to come by, as most journalists can attest. And, the stress of deadline pressure can make finding those sources an even more daunting task.

But, while there are several free services out there to help, there are few that take the time to vet those same sources.

Enter Chicago-based Source Sleuth, a free service that seeks to connect journalists, bloggers and other writers with “quality sources.” Read more

Pitch ‘Immediately Engaging,’ Photo-Heavy Pieces to BBC Travel

BBC-Travel-Blog-ImageTop 30 Vacation Spots in America. The 10 Best Places to Visit in Rome. How to Take a Road Trip on a Budget. For travel websites and blogs, it’s easy to use listicles as a way to deliver stories. They’re short, sweet and to the point. However, BBC Travel has a different approach to travel content.

The 3-year-old site focuses on ”stories that are unexpected or surprising, have a timely ‘Why now?’ hook, and weave a strong, context-heavy narrative,” says deputy editor Ellie Cobb. Editors are also looking for visual elements to supplement your story:

Concise pitches that are “immediately engaging” will avoid the editors’ slush pile, and mentioning availability of high-resolution photos will further distinguish a pitch, as editors are commissioning “photo-heavy” pieces, including photo essays that are formatted as slideshows.

Cobb encourages writers with multimedia skills to send queries, too. In particular, she’s eager to consider infographic pitches and videos.

For more on what stories to pitch, read: How to Pitch: BBC Travel.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

The Latin Kitchen Accepts Freelance Pitches That Target English-Speaking Latinos

Latina magazine’s sister site, The Latin Kitchen, is all about celebrating the connection between food and the culture of English-speaking Latinos. As a niche food-and-drink site, The Latin Kitchen is able to set itself apart from other online foodie destinations.

“We don’t have any direct competitors, but we look at sites like Epicurious, Food Republic, Delish, Huffington Post Food and others,” said editor-at-large Marie Elena Martinez. With a strong focus on Latin traditions, The Latin Kitchen gives its readers something more than just the standard tips on how to make the best burgers.

The Latin Kitchen is 75 percent freelance written and no section is off limits; however, if you plan on pitching its most popular section, “Recipes,” you’ll need to follow strict guidelines:

Recipe developers must have their own successful food blog and recipes must be triple-tested before submission. If the recipe is not original to the contributor, permission must be obtained from the chef, mixologist or cookbook author who created it.

Writers looking to land a byline might also want to include their own high-resolution photographs with their submissions, which helps out the small in-house staff.

For more pitching tips, read: How To Pitch: The Latin Kitchen.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

 

Every News Story On The Internet Right Now Could Be 300 Words Shorter

AP_logoOk, so while longwinded Upworthy-style headlines are in vogue right now, so should be tighter editing. Earlier this week, Erik Wemple reported on an AP memo announcing a move to start “policing” story length. Daily bylines digest stories should be around 300-500 words and top, ‘global’ stories should never exceed 700, unless it’s necessary and still ‘tightly edited.’ I’m all about it. Some reasons managing editor Brian Carovillano wants them shorter?

1) Good stuff is drowning in a ‘sea of bloated, mid level copy.’ I know we’re all supposed to be all about ‘longform,’ but it seems like everything I read these days is at least two paragraphs (or pages, if you’re The New Yorker) too long. One day when I have a free weekend, I’m going to compile my evidence, but for now it remains a hypothesis: I think a lot of us are writing too much to seem more serious and in-depth so as not to appear too beholden to the ‘clickiness’ of the Internet. Yes, we can do serious journalism on mobile and digital-first platforms. But it can also be concise. Read more

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