New writing styles

A few months ago, I mentioned that new digital mediums might affect editorial requirements for the written word. This will have an impact on journalists, whether they like it or not, and all should seek to understand the implications of 21st century technology even if they have no intention of writing anything online themselves.

A good and entertaining example of how reporting is being changed by ‘instant’ media can be found in the sphere of sports journalism. Both the BBC, and some mobile phone networks provide live text updates on matches. These are a great way to keep up with the score if, for some reason, you cannot listen to the live commentary. Each significant event is described in just one paragraph, or (in the case of Orange mobile phone service) one sentence. The tone is chatty, opinionated and partisan… as if it is your best mate keeping you updated. The more prosaic sports journalism we read in newspapers would be impractical and inappropriate for this particular purpose, and has no place here.

This is, of course, a type of live-blogging – nothing new for those already online. The point is simply that this is a style of paid journalism that has evolved with the new technology… technology that could yet leave other writers stranded.

another wicket falls

6 thoughts on “New writing styles

  1. Precisely. They suddenly find there is less of a market for their skills. They carry with them an aura of out-of-fashionness overnight.

    I’m not saying that this will definitely, necessarily happen in the case of sports journalism. I’m just noting minor shifts, attempting to define a larger trend before it happens.

  2. It’ll be important to figure out how to link back those text messages to a more fully formed and contextualized, traditional piece of writing. It would probably be a bad thing if these fast-tests began to replace the old-form. Together though they seem to work fine. Maybe there is a place for the old coots and their typewriters.

    I’ve been trying to figure out ways we could blend live text messaging into our city blog in Toronto. Like quick reports from the field. Which i could do I suppose with my blackberry-ish device, but it doesn’t always seem very exciting — and not unlike in the old old days when a reporter would phone in a story to his paper from the scene. It would be good if there was a way to be more geographically located, or something. Anyway, text-casting has some interesting potential.

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