Each week, Evan Peterson rounds up stories from across the Web that scribes of all stripes should check out.
Though paywalls and subscriptions certainly have their place, there’s always room for some old-fashioned venture capital when it comes to funding content creation. That’s happening a lot more nowadays.
Also, a look at the writing portion of the SAT, Twitter opens up to writers, and speed writing.
Investing in content:
Writing on the Internet can seem thankless, but journalism is not dead. In fact, it might be having a resurgence. Marketers, journalists and media companies have long known that content is king, but apparently now so do venture capitalists, who are increasingly investing in news—or, if you prefer, “news”—sites like Business Insider
It wasn’t long ago that people with money to invest didn’t have much use for journalists, content creators, aggregators, or the companies they worked for. Says Jonah Peretti, CEO of BuzzFeed
There are starting to be a lot who say, “I see, you have scale and leverage on the internet with social and mobile that will allow you to rebuild great media from the ground up.” That resonates with people now. Five years ago, no venture capital investors thought media was a great business. They thought it had to be something rich billionaires or philanthropic organizations would fund. That’s the biggest change.
Writing and the SAT:
You may have heard the SAT’s writing portion will soon be optional. That may as well mean that it’s being eliminated altogether. Even if you like writing and even if you’re a good writer, why sit down and bleed
if you don’t have to?
The bigger question, as The New York Times
tackled in an online debate featuring teachers and writers, is whether writing can ever be accurately assessed. Trey Ellis, a novelist, screenwriter and playwright says it can, but it has to be done carefully, and by a human.
Certainly by the end of high school, when students are being evaluated for admission to university, we have to ask so much more of them. We have to hunt for subtleties that no standardized test – by definition – will ever be able to uncover.
Twitter caters to long-form:
Using Twitter as a writing exercise and as a way for writers to get instant feedback has been well chronicled. Now it appears Twitter has officially acknowledged this by opening a contest and project called Twitter Fiction Festival asking writers to submit their work to #TwitterFiction (even though the contest isn’t just for fiction writers, apparently). There are online and offline events and schedules. So, you know, invite your followers. In this piece from Marketplace
, Twitter’s Andrew Fitzgerald explains why this makes sense:
“#TwitterFiction is a great way for writers to challenge themselves with a new genre or new technique. It’s also really beneficial to writers because Twitter makes for such an interesting stage: authors are essentially performing their work in front of a live, global audience.”
As a writing festival, this is a better idea than most fiction festivals that offer panels of established authors lecturing. Instead, it’s live writing with the opportunity for live feedback. But what this may come down to is Twitter management’s realizing what it has and shoring up the writing community for future marketing opportunities, which isn’t wrong.
[RELATED: Get advanced writing and editing tips from Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela!]
A “Saturday Night Live” sketch from the ‘90s
featured David Spade as a self-improvement guru who helped you get your time back by shortening your words. (“I’m a bit under the weath.”) A new, real idea to promote speed writing isn’t all that different. But then again, it’s in service of speed reading, which as this NPR blog post points out, has existed since at least the 1940s.
Several new apps are designed to help you speed-read, and learning to do that could make you more efficient. What do you think? Is omitting the occasional preposition or adverb a good way to increase productivity?
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.