While You Were Writing


While You Were Writing – 12/14/2012

For my money, the ebook might be the greatest opportunity for journalists brought by the digital age. It’s a medium tailor-made  to span the middle ground between feature story and full-fledged book that so many stories demand and so many journalists are capable of.

The New York Times’s Dwight Garner agrees – he recently said of Kindle Singles: “They’re works of long-form journalism that seek out that sweet spot between magazine articles and hardcover books.”

It isn’t just that they represent the proper length for many of the most juicy stories – they also represent what is feasible for many writers to produce. A hardcover is a daunting task representing at least several months of work and an obstacle course of publishing gatekeepers. A story produced at Kindle Single-length is way simpler investment for most of us trying to make a living.

Garner’s employer is placing a bet on the theory, as GalleyCat reports:

“The [Times] will publish “up to a dozen” Byliner eBooks ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 words apiece and including titles about culture, sports, business, science and health. The series begins on December 17 with the $2.99 “Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek” by New York Times reporter John Branch.

The format is a new opportunity for publishers like the Times, and it could lead to countless new publishing prospects for journalists.


Tablets and readers were the hot holiday gift last year. This year it might be a journalist bracelet from Etsy or an iPhone boom mic under the tree. (I hope not.) Both items made 10,000 Words 30 Holiday Gifts for Journalists 2012. According to the list, the tools of the trade these days are limited to iPhone accessories, reference books and coffee mugs. How many NPR mugs can one have?


Also in the news this week… Chris Chase is the most hated blogger in America (CJR)… Ken Burns gave himself his own first big break (Media Bistro)… How to stay motivated when you work from home (SmallBizTrends)… News weeklies are a dying breed (by former news weekly, The Daily Beast)… and Can local newspapers collaborate with blogs (PBS Media Shift).

John Hazard

(Image by alienratt via Flickr, CC2.0)

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