Friday, July 21, 2006
Blogger Q&A No.9: Doug Fisher
The blogger Q&A continues. Today's e-mail interview is with Doug Fisher, a professor of journalism at the University of South Carolina, and proprietor of the Common Sense Journalism blog.
Q. When did you start blogging?
A. January 2004 as we were gearing up the "Wireless Election Connection" mobile web log project here to cover the elections and conventions. It was a natural way to do some "real-time" reflection on what was going on. It was also a natural extension to the Common Sense Journalism column I'd written since 2001 -- for all those quick-hit things that never get into a column.
Q. What's your purpose or motivation for blogging? What do you hope to accomplish?
A. Several things: First, as noted above, those quick-hit language and similar things that don't make it into the column. Second, I have done a lot of work in new media with the Wireless Election Connection (wec.textamerica.com) and Hartsville Today (www.hvtd.com), and so I like to ruminate on that and on the latest developments in new media, specifically as it pertains to journalism, management, editorial and reportorial resources, and business models. Third, I use it for editing class -- some of those quick-hits become class discussions or quiz questions. And finally I just like to occasionally spout off. With the editing, language and resource stuff, I hope to get people thinking about those issues and maybe learning (or refreshing) a little about how to do journalism a bit better. With the new media stuff, I hope maybe some journalists will be less reactive and think more about the future of this business.
Q. Where do you get your topics?
A. From my own current experience with things I am doing, from research, from e-mail and similar newsletters (way too many), from contributors (many of them former students), from things I put together for professional seminars, and from my 30+ years in journalism.
Q. What has provoked the most response from readers?
A. No one thing in particular. The language stuff always gets some good response. The most traffic comes from original, longer think pieces (such as the one questionin the concept of replacing AP with a peer-to-peer news sharing system), the updates on AP style, and original reporting, such as the piece on Lauren Rich Fine's presentation at ACES this year.
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 know some of them -- I know Bill Walsh checks in some, as do you and some other folks I know in the industry. I also get a fair amount of students seeking journalism advice, etc.
Q.If you know, are your readers language or journalism experts or just regular folks?
Q. Do you try to post on a regular schedule or as topics arise?
A.I try to post at least three times a week, but it is topic driven. When I am involved heavily in teaching or in another writing project, it can slip.
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. No. I think those who want it can find us through various links, Google searches, directories, etc.
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'm pretty up to date. I've been dealing with computers since programming in Fortran with punch cards in another life (yes, I'll admit to being an astrophysics major originally in college). Much of it is just time enough to keep up with things and learn them decently. I know enough Flash and Photoshop just to be dangerous, for instance. Need to become familiar with PHP and Python -- not so much to be able to program in them, but to know their capabilities.
Q. How much time do you spend each week on your blog?
A.Too much. Probably eight to 10 hours. But a lot of that is thinking through things before posting.
Q. What are your favorite language web sites or blogs?
A. They're all pretty much listed on the right rail of my blog.
Q. Is there anything else you'd like to add?
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