As you read news, be hyper-aware of passive voice headlines

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The New York Times tweeted this over the weekend: At this moment in time, there are hidden stories in the choices that headline writers write. An active voice headline tells who did make. Two of these headlines are passive. A passive voice headline tells what happened, but hides the who. Minneapolis: A photographer was shot … Continued

A sober analysis of Trump’s executive order regarding social media

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President Trump signed an executive order yesterday that would change the government’s stance on social networks. Let’s look at the portions that make sense, and the portions that are unhinged raving. I’ll start with this. Social networks need regulation. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are spreading disinformation and dividing America. Now that Twitter has added content … Continued

How to talk to a reporter and get quoted

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If you’re an expert, reporters may call you — especially if your opinions on a topic rank on Google. What a great opportunity to spread your knowledge and reputation! Don’t blow it. Today, I drafted an op-ed for the Boston Globe with a hook in today’s news. I emailed three authors whose opinions I knew … Continued

Policing Trump’s (or anybody’s) tweets: the problem is context

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Donald Trump tweeted that mail-in ballots in California would lead to fraud. Twitter added a content warning on his tweets. If you think this is the start of Twitter fact-checking tweets, you’re wrong. It can’t. The problem is context. Let’s review what actually happened. Here’s what Trump tweeted: Twitter did something it rarely does: included … Continued

Passive voice editorials flinch from the truth

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One of the most pernicious of pieces on the opinion pages of our newspapers is the passive voice editorial, which pleads that something must be done — but doesn’t suggest who should do it. That’s particularly worrisome during the current pandemic, because we already know that things are screwed up and people are dying. We … Continued

In which I declare war on link building

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I get dozens of emails every week from people who want to post shit on my site — despite the fact that I have never posted an unsolicited article. They don’t benefit my readers and they annoy me, so I’ve declared war on them. Here are some samples: Hi there, I know you’re swamped, so … Continued

I see you people. And I’m disappointed.

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I’m not getting together in person with very many people these days. I connect with all my professional friends on social media and email. And you people are remarkably consistent — you either offer value, or you don’t. Here’s what I value: original, thoughtful content, and information I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. For example: Data, … Continued