What I did with my summer vacation…


Photo courtesy of SXC.

After the last post on the perfect writer’s “staycation,” a blog reader might think that I had spent the entire month on the beach! Not so, unfortunately … here’s a quick update of life in Write Livelihood land and a few links that I’ve been thinking about during August.

Time off: I did take a little time off from my day job editing a university magazine, but it was a working vacation. I visited Tucson to do a freelance story for a regional publication and ate a lot of delicious food, toured some beautiful buildings and generally soaked up the laid-back vibe of the Old Pueblo.

I also paid a visit to Antigone Books, the local feminist bookstore, and bought a book there—almost a requirement for those of us wanting to give business to independent bookstores. If you’re of a progressive political bent and live in southern Arizona, it’s worth a visit to Antigone. You will find books there that you’re less likely to encounter in a chain bookstore. For example, the store had a tremendous collection of books on sustainability issues, including several hilarious eco-memoirs of authors trying to live in a more “green” manner.

Assignments: I’ve been up to my eyeballs in writing assignments this month. Extra music stories for the biweekly I write for, the Tucson story mentioned above, and working on a podcast series at the day job. The podcasting is an “enterprise” assignment (self-developed) and I’m really excited about it, but like many such multimedia works-in-progress a lot of time has been spent ironing out technical glitches.

Vacation Reading: I’ve had a chance to read a lot of online articles, most of it focusing on what Web 2.0 is doing to writing in general.

Recommendations and the Reputation Economy

Adam Nash, senior director for product and user experience at LinkedIn, makes a persuasive case that the avalanche of information being created in our Internet world has created a resurgence of interest in considering the context and source of any claim, post, story, etc. The post is a good primer for writers and editors on how to give and ask for recommendations (on LinkedIn or for one’s portfolio site, etc.) that are specific, detailed and relevant.

Transparency is the New Objectivity

David Weinberger discusses the above assertion that he made at his recent talk at PDF09 as it relates to journalism in our current “Age of Links.”

Here’s one tantalizing tidbit:

“What we used to believe because we thought the author was objective we now believe because we can see through the author’s writings to the sources and values that brought her to that position. Transparency gives the reader information by which she can undo some of the unintended effects of the ever-present biases. Transparency brings us to reliability the way objectivity used to.

“This change is, well, epochal.”

Say Everything

This is a link to a brief Wired.com interview with Salon.com co-founder (and blogger) Scott Rosenberg related to his new book, “Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It’s Becoming and Why It Matters.”  He discusses why some journalists and novelist Doris Lessing think blogs will destroy civilization, who thinks blogs are old hat and where blogging will be in 2019. Very nice and a short read.

The Limits of Control

An interesting article from the American Journalism Review. With journalists and their employers increasingly active on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, news organizations are struggling to respond to a host of new ethics challenges.

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