i have spent a bunch of time in the Publishing Industry, and remember in 1986 using Aldus Pagemaker 1.0 on a Mac. Companies that were in my regular discussions were Altsys, Macromedia, Quark, Adobe, and a bunch of other high end publishing & printing technologies. In 1994 I was a renegade and developed Verdana as the first TrueType font where screen readability was the priority, not print. Leaving behind print changes what you can do. Being a blogger is different than print as you focus on speed & quantity vs. quality.
What happens when you leave behind the Print Editorial Process? Businessweek has a good post on Blogs vs. Magazine processes.
We're proud here of the work we do as a team to lift the level of each story. But what a slog. It's unthinkable for the blog world. Consider the path of a story as it winds its way through our system.
I looked at a draft of the story over the weekend, suggested changes, and spent nine hours editing it yesterday. (Usually two people share this job, but this week we're short-handed.) Then I sent it to the copy desk. There, people who are new to the story read it to see if it makes sense, if the thinking is logical, the context clear, the grammar and spelling ok, the names and titles correct. Meantime, some facts, such as names and Web addresses, are checked by a researcher. The copy desk sends the story, with questions, back to the writer and me. At the same time, the top editors of the magazine have a chance to read the story and suggest changes of their own. Potentially contentious or delicate stories are often sent upstairs to a McGraw-Hill lawyer, who might suggest further adjustments.
Today we work answering the questions, clearing up doubts, filling in holes, and cutting the story to fit on the page.
Then, wouldn't you know, the story goes back to the desk. They edit again--mostly proofreading, making sure questions have been answered, and writing display language this time around--and put it on a literal sheet of paper. Then that paper is circulated back to us. We read it and make fixes, and then carry it to the close desk, where editors make the final changes and push the button to send it to the printing press.
Much of this process is a good idea when you are thinking sending content to a printer. But, what about a blog post? Note this post was written in 2005, and describes a blog process.
The editorial process of blogging is far simpler. We write, we publish. This takes our journalism into a new sphere, but carries inherent risks. How do we handle them? First, we reduce risk by avoiding the sorts of stories that require heavy editing. We don't blog investigative pieces, for example, or heavy financial analysis. Second, we consult our gut. If it looks risky, we'll push it toward the more edited BW Online or the magazine. Finally, when we make mistakes--which we do--we aim to correct them quickly and ask for your understanding. We're into something new, and all of us, you and I, are only coming to understand it as we create it.
Much of the editorial process was constrained by the print process. Blogging is constrained by speed of internet and data center software. Quality is important, but do end users care about the intangible qualities.
Much of what gets the traffic is the fastest most relevant, and it is hard to beat that with better quality that is later, and shows up days later.