Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Blogger Q&A No.14: Nicole Stockdale

The blogger series continues with Nicole Stockdale, proprietor of A Capital Idea, where topics range from ABBA to libel to the situation at the Santa Barbara Press.

Q.When did you start blogging?

A.March 2003

Q.What's your purpose or motivation to blogging? What do you hope to accomplish?

A.You know those people who feel in their souls a longing to write, who must blog to fill that need to create? That is not me. I just knew that I was devouring all the copy-editing information I could find; while I was noodling it through, I figured I might as well bring others along on the journey.

Q.Where do you get your topics?

A.Questions that come up on the job, T-shirts, other blogs, Google News alerts, cereal boxes, TV, questions from readers, newspapers and magazines, my mom, dictionaries, billboards -- anywhere.

Q.What has provoked the most response from readers?

A.My post on the San Antonio Express-News' ban on headline puns drew droves of new readers -- and comments. It really is remarkable what a link from Romenesko will do for readership.

Q. Do you know who your readers are and if so, do you have much interaction with them? Anything interesting to say about them?

A. I try to stay up on who's commenting on and linking to A Capital Idea. I'm so tickled when I see someone -- and this happens often -- mention the blog with a disclaimer: "I like this blog. I know, I'm a geek." Getting e-mail from readers is great; I've made a couple of good friends this way.

Q. If you know, are your readers language or journalism experts or just regular folks?

A. There's a strong core of copy editors, with some journalism fans and word nerds mixed in. There are plenty who know much more about editing and the language than I do. Luckily, few hold it against me.

Q. Do you try to post on a regular schedule or as topics arise?

A. As topics arise. I'll blog as much as my schedule allows. I usually have 10 or 15 ideas just waiting to be explored, but there's only so much time in the day. I fight a guilty conscience when I skip a day (or a week), but it's necessary. The Internet can suck you in like Scientology.

Q. Do you think we should think about linking in some fashion to deliver language or other advice by e-mail or share content more regularly? (This is completely off the top of my head and did not inspire this Q&A.)

A. I would not be opposed.

Q. Do you consider yourself web savvy or up to date on technology? Will we still be blogging in five years or will technology completely replace this method of communication?

A.. I am a Web dunderhead. I've taught myself enough HTML to get by, but I'm desperate to get some schooling in Flash and Dreamweaver and all the other applications the cool kids are using these days. It's on my (long) to-do list. Blogging is such an easy way for people to communicate that I boldly predict that it will still be around in five years. Then again, I still listen to 45s.

Q. How much time do you spend each week on your blog?

A. 30 minutes to 20 hours. (I'm a skosh embarrassed by that upper range.)

Q. What are your favorite language web sites or blogs?

A. Bill Walsh's The Slot and its accompanying blog
Testy Copy Editors
John McIntyre's You Don't Say
Language Log
Double-Tongued Word Wrester
Doug Fisher's Common Sense Journalism
Jan Freeman's column at

Q.Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A. It's been a pleasure!

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