This week, the New York Times standards editor Craig Whitney wrote a memo on style for bloggers.
It’s cranky and pompous. But our main gripe is that it’s just packaged wrong.
13 paragraphs? 4 pages?
Any decent blogger knows that a how-to memo has to be presented in bullet-pointed, listicle format.
So, because we care, here are the New York Times‘s 10 rules for blogging (in a format people will actually read):
- What should be avoided in all of them is any hint of racist, sexist or religious bias, or any suggestion of nasty, snide, sarcastic, or condescending tone — “snark.”
- If something could easily fit in a satirical Web site for young adults, it probably shouldn’t go into the news pages of nytimes.com.
- Contractions, colloquialisms and even slang are, generally speaking, more allowable in blogs than in print.
- Obscenity and vulgarity are not.
- Unverified assertions of fact, blind pejorative quotes, and other lapses in journalistic standards don’t ever belong in blogs.
- Writers and editors of blogs must also distinguish between personal tone and voice and unqualified personal opinion.
- A blog or news column has to give readers the arguments and factual information that led to the writer’s conclusion — enough argument and fact on both or all sides of the issue to enable the reader to decide whether to agree or disagree
- That does not apply to editorials or Op-Ed columns, which “are not intended to give a balanced look at both sides of a debate,” as the Readers’ Guide says.
- Headlines on analysis should try to capture the debate rather than taking sides in it.
- If the comments contain vulgarity, obscenity, offensive personal attacks, say that somebody “sucks,” or are incoherent, moderators are advised just to chuck them out.