The new HuffPost is so confused

Huffington Post is changing its name to HuffPost and will now focus on telling stories of the powerless. What does that mean? I’ve read the piece from Editor-in-Chief Lydia Polgreen and I’m still trying to figure it out. I think she is confused, and writing about things when you are confused results in a muddled … Continued

The lesson of Juicero: corporate writing should not sound like a superhero movie

It’s been a tough week for Juicero, a startup company that makes an internet-connected juicing machine. Some Bloomberg reporters figured out you could make juice from the juice packs without using the Juicero machine at all. The CEO’s response on Medium is completely ineffective, because he can only see the world from within his limited, Silicon-Valley … Continued

13 proofreading hacks based on the psychology of reading

Typos and mistakes seem inevitable. While you can delegate the proofreading job to someone else who’s an expert nitpicker, that’s not always practical when we’re all sending emails, blogging, and posting on social networks at real-time speed with little editing. But if you’re smart about how brains see (and don’t see) errors, you can catch more … Continued

What really happened with Fox News and Bill O’Reilly

I’ve just read the statements about Fox News host Bill O’Reilly leaving. It is hard to believe statements this short can be this overblown and vacuous. Here’s some context. O’Reilly had the top-rated show on Fox News. Reporters Emily Steel and Michael S. Schmidt published a story in The New York Times that detailed five allegations of sexual … Continued

United Airlines and the cost of being hated

I’ve analyzed lots of corporate screwups in this space. Most of those companies will recover just fine. But a few now have a permanent reputation for being a bad and hated company, with real costs that will continue for decades. Let’s look at some of the corporate stupidity on display in the last year or so and … Continued

Is Facebook responsible for hosting a murder broadcast?

Facebook user Steve Stephens used Facebook on Sunday to build an audience for murder, posting videos of his plan to shoot somebody, the shooting itself, and his confession. Facebook explained the changes it will make in reviewing videos like this, but avoiding taking responsibility or apologizing. In the end, how much fault lies with Facebook? While … Continued

Should you start with a story or a lede?

The best way to hook an audience is to start with a story. The best way to get people to read what you write is with a descriptive title and a few summary sentences (or as journalists call it, a lede). How do you resolve these contradictory pieces of advice? When I got this question … Continued

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos shareholder letter has some gems . . . and some clunkers

Jeff Bezos’ latest Amazon shareholder letter is striking in its clarity, directness, honesty, and meatiness. That’s unusual in communications from a CEO. Here’s a look at what’s great — and not so great — in this 1800-word letter. It’s well organized, with an effective lead In a read-on-screen world, you should start everything with a summary, but that summary doesn’t … Continued