Thursday, June 07, 2007

A lack of posting

I have been busy, so this blog has been left fallow for a few days. On the other hand, if you are desperate for something from me, I wrote a small on Samizdata yesterday on mobile phone statistics, and I have been leaving a wide assortment of comments on the Olympics logo etc etc over here.

The funny thing about the Samzdata post is that it was intended as a tiny "Ha, isn't that funny" comment about the fact that Britons dropped 855,000 mobile phones down the toilet in 2006 and I added a bit if filler. I have received no comments whatsoever on what I thought the article is about, and a lot on the filler. That's the way it goes, I guess.


Andy said...

I wonder if it's because you made your point in the second paragraph.

A former colleague of mine once did an internship with the Telegraph to learn how to write science stories for the press. One thing they taught her was that everything important in the story (the "who, what where, why, when?") should be in the first paragraph because that's all that most people bother reading.

The astonished us all because, being scientists, we are, of course, accustomed to scrutinising everything in minute detail.

Michael said...

Actually, I had an experience like that, too. This was training in how to right a financial report, and it was explained that we need to put key points at the top etc etc. In order to explain why, we were asked how we would read such a report. I gave an honest answer, which was that I would start at the top of page 1 and read to the end of the final page, and would read everything sequentially. The person running the course was a little taken aback by this, because the expectation was that people would skim for key points first and then go into detail if they wanted to. Not in the sense that there was anything wrong with this, but in the sense that it was not what most people do.

It was actually a good course, in which it was taken as a given that different people do these things differently and you need to write a report in such a way that is right for a number of different types of reader, not just one.

Blog Archive