What should blogging web designers learn from journalism?
If the main shtick of this blog can crudely be reduced to "stuff news organisations and journalists can learn from digital design", then here is the complete opposite, an article about what web designers can learn from journalism. "We can do better: the overlooked importance of professional journalism" was written by Dan Redding for Smashing Magazine, one of the leading sites for web designers.
In the article, Dan argues that anyone within the web design community who publishes "news, events, opinions or interviews" online should familiarize themselves with the basics of journalism. It is interesting to see someone from outside of the industry picking the elements that they think give the trade value - verification, accuracy over direct quotations, writing strong opening lines, using active tenses, writing in positive terms and thinking about the ethics of what you are doing.
The comment thread is eye-opening too - with user after user queuing up to say that because of the woeful standards of the mainstream media these days, there is nothing of worth to be learned from journalistic practice. This comment is typical:
"Some good points, though the issue is cloudy because the mainstream media outlets we think of as employers of 'journalists' do not remotely subscribe to the notion that: 'Journalism is the pursuit of truth, accuracy and fairness in the telling of a story.'"
Truly, estate agents have nothing to fear from journalists at the moment in the popularity stakes - not helped in the UK I'm sure by the ongoing ethical squalor of the phone-hacking story. Author Dan Redding has joined in the thread with a defence of the profession:
"I am surprised by the disdain and bitterness towards journalism that's revealed in some of these comments. Just because we might object to the content/approach/bias of Publication X, does not devalue core journalism principles that have been in development for centuries. Journalism, after all, has been with us much longer than the Internet has. The profession of journalism is now evolving - albeit tumultuously - to adapt to online media, just like most other industries. Perhaps these hard feelings towards journalism are symptoms of that disruptive evolution. Or maybe people have always disagreed over how news stories are told."
You can read Dan's full article here: "We can do better: the overlooked importance of professional journalism"