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Archives: March 2012

What’s The Equivalent Of ‘Ink By The Barrel’ On The Internet?

One of my all-time favorite journalism quotes, often misattributed to Mark Twain, goes something like:


“Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel and paper by the ton.”



The actual phrasing, history and correct attribution of this quote, commonly called “Greener’s Law,” are hard to determine. (That page actually has a lot of good info on the history and variations, if you’re into that.)

The idea is generally, it’s a bad idea to argue with someone that wields so much power and influence as a daily newspaper (or at least, as much as the newspaper once did in many communities). Today, however, there are so many different forms of media outlets that the newspaper itself doesn’t hold so much power.

So, while figuring out who first said it and how might not be something we can do in hindsight, I thought — inspired by a blog post on the topic by Peter Lewis — it would be fun to look forward instead and figure out what the new media equivalent would be. I’m sure the 10,000 Words readership has a few fun ideas for the next incarnation of this phrase.

How would you adapt this idea to the modern media?

Here are a few fun suggestions from Lewis, myself and others:

  • Never pick a fight with someone who buys their bandwidth by the gigabyte. (From Darrell Patrick)
  • Never pick a fight with someone who gets more than a million uniques a month (From Lewis)
  • Never pick a fight with someone who has a black belt in SEO techniques (Lewis)
  • Never pick a fight with someone who has more than 500,000 Twitter followers (Lewis)
  • Never pick a fight with someone who has a camera and a Twitter following
  • Never pick a fight with someone who collectively goes by Anonymous
  • Never pick a fight with someone who knows how to use the Internet better than you
  • Never pick a fight with someone who isn’t above hacking into your voicemail for a scoop
  • Never pick a fight with someone who has compromising photos, video or audio you
  • Never pick a fight with someone who has access to Google to prove you wrong immediately

Send in your suggestions and I can append them to this list.

Writers Wanted at Bloomberg Businessweek (No MBAs Required)

You’re not the only one intimidated by the Bloomberg Businessweek name. In’s latest How To Pitch article, editors admit that, despite the brand’s cachet, they aren’t inundated with freelance pitches — good news if you’re looking to land a byline there.

“Ultimately we want someone to spin a really great yarn that happens to be of interest to business readers,” explained features editor Sheelah Kolhatkar.

To find out which sections of Bloomberg Businessweek are the most freelancer-friendly and for a list of all editors accepting pitches, check out How To Pitch: Bloomberg Businessweek.

In Defense of Studying Social Media

Much is being said lately about the impact that social media is having on how business is done both in this country and worldwide.

As social media has become more integrated into how businesses promote themselves, buy advertise, market at various levels, it has caused a seismic shift in what platforms get priority over others.

This seismic shift has created a ripple effect in the way that marketing, public relations, communications and journalism is taught by colleges in the U.S.

Many universities are faced with two options: integrate social media into their current curriculum, or teach it separately as a specialism, with a certificate or even a separate major.

Read more

How The Wall Street Journal Uses Pinterest

While Pinterest is taking many newsrooms by storm, there may still be some editors who are hesitant or unsure about how to go about using the online scrapbooking site. Why not take a page — or in this case a board — from The Wall Street Journal?

Recently, the venerable news organization started experimenting with how to use Pinterest and created a Quotes board. Its description partially reads: “Editors are pinning memorable quotes appearing in The Wall Street Journal.”

Each pin is an image of a quote from a recent WSJ story shown floating over a column of blurred out text, much like pull-quotes do in an actual story. A short description accompanies each pin, allowing the quote to stand alone. By clicking on an individual quote, readers/pinners are taken to the original story it was published in.

“There are so many memorable soundbites out there,” said Brian Aguilar, a social media editor at the news organization who helped come up with the idea for the board. ”This gives you the opportunity to really highlight them and pique people’s interest in a story.”

This board can easily be replicated in newsrooms everywhere. I spoke (via email) with Aguilar to learn more about the board’s inspiration, how the images are created, and why the WSJ team isn’t worried about Pinterest and copyright issues.  Read more

Tap Into Your Southern Roots for South

If you’ve got a place in your heart for Southern traditions (hold the fried chicken stereotypes, please), you could land a byline in South.

This Savannah, Georgia-based pub concentrates on highlighting remarkable Southerners and any brand new establishments and trends happening in the Creative Coast. (Think that Southern belle who made it big, or that hip, new designer from Nashville who’s got the fashion world buzzing.)

“The pub has an entire section dedicated to profiles on interesting Southern characters which definitely lends itself to outside ideas,” said managing editor Lauren Hunsberger. ”The characters, events, culture and stories are second to none and provide for some of the best reading in the world.”

For more on word count and which sections are open to freelancers, read How To Pitch: South.