That said, I am encountering some challenges, and so I thought I would share with you my thoughts and brainstorming on how to make this work, going forward.
I share these thoughts openly with you, partly to share the experience, but also to get your feedback. As always, I welcome any thoughts, comments or suggestions you may have!
Findings So Far
- People like the idea
- I have some subscribers to the newsfeed
- The idea has gotten some minor traction on Twitter
- From the survey I posted last week, of which I got about thirty-some responses:
- People generally find I put just the right amount of detail.
- The greatest improvements I can make are on the entries is more commentary, and photos/screenshots
- (Graphs with actual tallies coming shortly)
- Blogger is a bit of a bitch for formatting. (They're called paragraphs! There's even a tag for them, <P> !)
- Finding the time to make this happen is a challenge, especially at this point in my life, with a new job and upcoming wedding to balance.
- Last week, my friend Dominic helped me a great deal, writing summaries for three of the guests and taking notes with me for others. Even here though, I spent a good deal of time.
- I am consistently making mistakes:
- some minor typos
- others more important, like getting peoples' names wrong!
- "Tous les autres en parlent": suggest division, conflict? (nous vs. les autres; l'enfer, c'est les autres)
- Wasn't my intention
- Any better ideas of a name? None yet...
- For this to be relevant, the summaries need to be delivered in a more timely fashion, i.e. within 24 hours.
- So far, Dominic has helped me on two occasions, and a couple more have volunteered since.
- This week, I was still my own bottleneck, for no reason other than energy.
- People want commentary...
- One of the purposes of this project was to stimulate conversation, or bring more people in the conversation being had elsewhere in the greater Quebec culture.
- Providing commentary can do that, but I certainly to have opinions on many things.
- My intention with this project, however, is not to propagate my own opinions or biases, but rather present the story and the contextual facts and help let the reader participate in the conversation intelligently.
- Looking back, I think one of my influences putting this together is Kate McDonnel's Montreal City Weblog. I love her concise writing, mostly-objective stance (just subjective enough to make her human), and links, links, links!
- I feel a need to divorce it from the facts, like professional news entities do in separating reports from editorials.
- That divorce does devoid my ability from adding my voice to the summaries, trying to keep them interesting.
- When did I become a faux-citizen-meta-journalist?
- If people are pointing our my errors, it's because they're reading what I'm writing.
- That doesn't excuse good fact-checking, or simple spellchecking.
- I suspect having all of the episode in one article is a bit tedious.
- It also forces me in a certain respect to deliver all at once, whereas if I separated them, I could post them as they are ready
Ideas Going Forward
Between Now and the End of the Season
- Accept people's offers of help.
- Keep a small set so that it remains manageable
- Set expectations:
- consistent style
- respectful tone (including <looks in mirror> getting names right!)
- neutral delivery
- with your own voice, to make the reading interesting
- Break up the workload, by assigning guests to writers
- Break up the delivery schedule:
- Prior to Sunday
- Assign guests to writers
- Assign cross-checkers (Tim checks Do, Do checks Mary, Mary checks Tim)?
- Sunday night, after the show
- One article (hereinafter referred to as "the high-level article")
- Start with an intro paragraph or two summarizing the show
- Bullet breakdown of each guest (3-4 bullets, max.)
- who they are
- why they're there
- any important points
- Share any notes between fellow writers (offline, not via the public website)
- Up until Monday evening
- Tim+other writers: Write summaries, fact check
- Tim: Build "Why this matters" segments, collect links
- Publish summaries in individual posts
- Update the high-level article with links to the individual summary
- Rest of the week
- If anyone is motivated to write commentaries, do so and post ad-hoc.
- Update the high-level article with links to the commentary
For Next Year
- Re-assess, make any changes from new learning lessons
- Set up a separate website?
- Possibly move away Blogger?