Do you know what a reporter can do better than just about anybody else? Slant stuff. News reporters are masters at this technique, and writers can learn a great deal from them. After all–the slant a reporter gives something can be the perfect example of how to craft a good query. You really need that “angle”.
Think about it. Reporters dig deep and look for “the story“. Take the inauguration for example. The coverage didn’t stop with Obama. There were some other great stories out there that had real appeal. Pieces that focused on people traveling for hundreds of miles to get D.C. so they could see the new President get sworn in. Interviews with those who have been involved with the struggle for civil rights for years. You see? There are 20 facets to every story, and the news media knows how to pan for that gold.
So next time you watch the news, do so with the discerning eye of a writer. See how they slant each story and think about what you can do to hone that skill to your advantage. The most interesting query is often the one that gets the assignment. Learn how to make yours a standout.
Freelance writers who do deep research into history, government and military operations and related topics must often resort to using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain transcripts, government records, court documents and other material not readily available to the public. But now, according to BoingBoing.net, a group dedicated to transparency in government is lobbying for better access to information and government media. Could this have implications that reach as far as the Freedom of Information Act?
In the excellent blog post Principles for Open Government, BoingBoing’s Cory Doctrow discusses the Open Government movement spearheaded by Larry Lessig. This movement’s principles include insistence that there be no technological barriers to information/media sharing–a great concept that, while not aimed specifically at freelancers or other writers, does have implications for us if this movement gains any traction at all.
There’s a good video at the Open Government site available for download or streaming that lays it all out. While much of the Open Government concept is aimed at media sharing, this is a movement that could champion–or at least inspire–a move to overhaul the Freedom of Information Act at some point. Could it happen? That remains to be seen, but the potential is tantalizing.
Whether you voted for Obama or not, he’s in, and it’s time to find out what he is going to do. Change.gov is up and running–your online source for his transition to the Presidency. Bookmark it and check back often. It will keep you up-to-date.