Monthly Archives: July 2006

Editor job interview questions

Applying for a job as an editor for a magazine? Here’s a sample of what you’ll be typically asked and, ideally, what you’ll need to impart:

1) Publishers always want to know where you are planning to take this magazine in a few years time. How are you going to target your readers? Who are your readers?

2) Can you get the commercial side of this things going. Tell the publisher how you can generate revenues by way of commercial features while still maintaining editorial integrity.

3) Know that you are first and foremost an editor. Hence you will make sure the content is perfect, the design is great and you will get copy out on time. Okay, obvious stuff, but this is really important.

4) You’re always looking at increasing circulation and getting the big spenders as advertisers.

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How will blogs evolve?

This is a perfect example of how blog platforms will allow users to post comments.

Posting replies and comments in blogs and social network forums are seen as the new email. The thinking is that a) office workers in their 30s/40s use email to chat, b) office workers in their 20s have grown up with IM and use it to chat and c) teens have grown up with blogs and use them to chat.

It’s a fair point – why send an email when you can add a comment in a friend’s welcoming and familiar forum / webspace? But this video and its replies takes the concept further. Here we have a string of replies and video posts. Old news on YouTube, but it’s a great standard to have on all blogs.

Is this how blogs will look very soon? Instead of text posts and a pic, post a short video?

Anyway, take a look at the video. Skip it if you get bored, but double click on the YouTube logo and see how many video replies this has had.

Expect this feature to integrated into the likes of MySpace or Yahoo! 360 as standard: ‘Post a text blog reply’ or ‘Post a video blog reply’.


Video over editorial

Quick snapshot: since I started this blog, my user session logs are averaging not much more than one minute.

This is massively affected by a) search engine spiders visiting my side for 0:00 seconds and b) my content’s a bit stale thanks to the demands of a full time content bod.

That said, my session times have shot up since adding embedded video. I’ve now got people sitting on my site for over six or seven minutes.

Thank you

Webby award winner shuts down

Prince, the real pioneer of mobile phone txt terminology, has decided to shut down his music site just weeks after winning a Webby Award, the equivalent of the online Oscars.

This story suggests the site was facing some criticism by fans.

Either way, it’s a shame if this is the end of the road for NPG Music Club. Okay, I balked at the $100 sign up fee and ran away quickly, but the site was an example of what can be done without the assistance of a music publisher.

Bowie and George Michael have tried it (the latter failed), but NPG seemed to have got most of the ingredients right. Was it just the huge fee? It’s since dropped, but is this the only reason?

Prince seems to have churned out more ‘material’ than the BBC over the last 10 years, so I’d dispute suggestions that material was rarely released.

Maybe it marks a new twist in the diminutive pop star’s career…

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Writing for youth audiences

Teen users can be even more brutal than time-poor executives when it comes to web surfing habits.

The good news is that writing for them can be a valuable reminder of best-practice principles for a wide range of audience groups.

Young children can be ruthless critics. They have clear ideas of what they like, what they don’t, and (helpfully) don’t hesitate to explain why they’re moving onto something better.

Try to understand their motivation in visiting your site and in what context. For example, children between 7 and 12 are often working with a parent or teacher while surfing. Your content clearly needs to factor in both these audiences. For children, try adopting the tone of an older sibling – a friendly, reassuring voice that offers them guidance and trustworthy content in a non-threatening way.

It’s vital to test your editorial content with children. There are marked differences in the reading level and self-view of 7, 12, 14 and 16 year olds, which means content on your ‘all teens’ website has to work really hard.

A pre-teen won’t fully grasp content written for a 14 year old, but a 14 year old will naturally aspire towards content aimed at teens older than them. Pitch ‘kids’ content to teens at your peril. A good rule of thumb is to keep word counts down, keep vocabulary simple, provide clear instructions and keep your tone neutral.

With older teens, less hand holding is needed, but editorial has to work harder. Visual design is less of a consideration than the need to point users directly / quickly to guidance on the newly acquired priorities of work, money and relationships.

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Will blogs supercede traditional news sources as the focal point for information?

In a word: depends.

It certain areas, yes, but it’s dependent on trust and authority. If a blogger becomes as respected and trusted as say, the BBC, in their own particular field, then ultimately a blog could be the first port of call in the search for the latest news.

But at the moment blogs are just another voice in the overall mix. The public is always looking for different viewpoints and sources. Blogs will at least eventually be on equal footing with traditional news sources. There are plenty of examples of blogs becoming more powerful than their nearest competitor, but it’s interesting what happens to them following that realisation. they gain advertising. They gain an editorial policy. At what point do they stop being a blog and become mainstream media (MSM)?

Will we see traditional news outlets change because of this shift in power? Yes.

Audience participation will feature more heavily, adding a flavour of authenticity and impartiality. These sources will be treated as equally as any expert.

I expect to see more MSM news providers slowly integrating online community reaction into their output – gauging reaction to events by dedicating sections of their report to bloggers’ comments, albeit edited.

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Who’d be a web editor?

Programmers, developers and yes, I’ll say it, designers have it easy.


Because you don’t get clients sending back your work with what they feel are valuable additions to copy.

Why does everyone think they’re a writer?

“It’s just words innit?”

Alas, I wish it was. But, for the love of all things purple, web copy isn’t just about words.

It’s enough to make you become a HTML developer…

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Web 2.0 and clients

I’ll keep this brief as we’re just finishing off some web safety guidance for a website looking to open up its blogging service to teens (more on that once it’s live).

Yes folks – it’s begun. Today we officially received our very first brief to develop a web solution which specifically asks us to explore ‘web 2.0’ services.

As time goes on, I’m sure we’ll have to talk more clients down from the web 2.0 roof.’s Gareth Knight captures this in more detail, but it’s clear that our value as an agency is to advise clients on which elements would be of genuine use in achieving their business objectives.

I blame both the BBC and Pah.

P.S. I spotted a very tired looking Simon Waldman – founder of Guardian Unlimited – at Cobham & Stoke D’abernon train station last week. He has a foldaway bicycle…

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