Tag Archives: writer

Corporate Bloggers: Know the Challenges You’ll Face

Corporate blogging isn’t easy. The rewards are high, and this type of platform will reduce your workload over time (if you’re an in-house writer), though you’ll probably invest all that saved time in producing more content – especially if you’re addicted to returns. Some of the challenges aren’t immediately evident, and you’ll only encounter them when you’re knee-deep in the shit.

For mainstream bloggers, especially, you will run into some unexpected challenges. If you’re used to reblogging news stories or use press releases as a crutch when you’re short content, you’ll have to change your game.

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Living the hell of a professional writer with his hands tied

dsc04623The one thing I’ve always loved about being a writer is the freedom I have to play with the language. But, for a big part of my life, that appears to be in jeopardy (though not in the blogging world). I have a gig where the literary handcuffs are tightening, and I have no room to operate. It’s a fucking nightmare.

Yesterday, as I walked home (with the feel of a cold starting to set in), I nailed the sensation. I feel like Yossarian is hanging over me. He’s the protagonist from Catch-22 (a fun read). While in the hospital, he was tasked to censor letters home written by enlistedmen. Before long, he got bored. Well, Joseph Heller tells it better …

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Playing with YouTube

I’ve been away for a while. That’s the curse of finding paid work: not as much time to spend on the fun stuff. But, I have been able to squeeze in a bit of time to experiment with video. I’m trying to spice up my posts for Gadling and Luxist with footage that I’m shooting with a Flip HD. So far, my work is nothing short of amateurish, but I’m hoping it at least brings a bit more life to the stories I’m pulling together.

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The Brit gets it right

I hate it when people fuck with my work. Don’t get me wrong; I am quite open to criticism. There are a lot of editors who have messed with my copy, and I have learned a lot from them. But, there are some who do so without any real reason. That pisses me off. I would say more, but there’s an outside shot that the folks who have tried (and failed) will stumble upon the Migrant Blogger. The moral of the story: I’m a reasonable guy, and I expect that from those around me.

My father sent me the rant of some restaurant reviewer from the Manchester Guardian. This guy is fucking nuts– much crazier than I am. Giles Coren, the reviewer in question, publicly flew off the handle at the people who took the word “a” out of the last sentence of his review. Honestly, I get his point, and I agree with him. But, he’s is out of his fucking mind.

Oh, and don’t ask anyone for a “nosh” unless you mean it.

Ottaway (Dow Jones Sub) Wakes Up

Could it be? A newspaper CEO is not a newspaperman?

I was shocked when I saw the Google News Alert on my Blackberry this evening. A MarketWatch story announced that Andrew Langhoff is becoming the new CEO of Dow Jones subsidiary Ottaway Newspapers. While Langhoff is no stranger to the media space– and has been with Ottaway for five years– he isn’t the traditional choice for CEO.

His predecessor, John Wilcox, started as a reporter and worked his way up the editorial and business ladders of the old print world. Before taking the helm of Ottaway, he had been and old school print guy, spending the past 40 years working his way up the newspaper ranks. Wilcox did do a lot to pull Ottaway into the present, but it was clear after the turn of the century that fresh blood would be needed soon.

Langhoff is an interesting cat. He served as SVP of the internet publishing division (the first leader of the then new group) while also the firm’s general counsel (the role into which he was first hired). He hired me back in 2004, and I lasted all of six months before finding a culture that suited me better (I spent the next year chillin’ as a freelance writer and loved it).

He was one of the few people there who actually had a vision for the internet, though Ottaway (like most newspapers) was rather late to the party. But, it was decidedly 1999. At times, though, it did seem forward-looking. I remember discussing Web 2.0 ideas with him, back when the movement was in its infancy. But, it came out in ways that were a bit dated. The notion of communicating and leaving comments on stories, for example, did sound a lot like some famous flameouts. Remember TheGlobe.com, anyone?

He did have a less-than-charming expression for using the whiteboard– “Langhoffing.” Apparently, this term arose during his stint with a dotcom-era startup where he held a business development position. I suspect that few, aside from the Chief Langhoffer himself actually used it.

I’m being a bit to harsh, here. He was thinking the right way, and many of his ideas were downright revolutionary in the newspaper space. Clearly, there was a cultural shift. The Medford Mail-Tribune, an Ottaway property, now uses Twitter to announce the availability of new stories online. Before Langhoff arrived at Ottaway, that would not have been possible.

It’s hard to say where this will take Ottaway. This is a pretty radical move for a newspaper company, and the industry is in dire need of original thinking. If anyone is fit for the task, it is Langhoff. Before things soured for me at Ottaway (and my attitude with it), I was quite happy working with him. But, I wonder if the industry is too far gone. Also, I think is web-savviness is about half what the newspaper chain needs to get back on its feet.

So, best of luck, Andrew. I hope you are able to find the right combination to keep print newspapers relevant.

Check out Langhoff’s bio >>