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Problem writers

Problems with editorial process

Problems with corporate direction


Problems? Editing on the Web?

December 15,  2001

Sure, we've had problems.

In the five years we have spent editing material for the Web (mostly e-commerce sites, with reviews and commentary), we have run into a few problems with writers, editorial process, and corporate direction.

Problem writers

  • Writers who canít write short, and, instead, say, ďOh, well, just cut it for me!Ē Lazy longueurs.

  • Writers who figure text is all that counts, and screw up screenshots (too big, too full of their own desktop, irrelevant), or fail to secure any illustrations, or, in situations where we need more media, mess up audio clips, or forget to ask for video.

  • Writers who write in Word, and save to HTML, forcing us to strip out all the Microsoft tags, taking the text back to Ascii, and rebuilding the tags from there.

  • Writers who donít meet their deadlines.


Problems with editorial process

  • Setting up conventions for filenames so we can track a dozen articles a week through two or three drafts, without publishing the wrong version.

  •  Talking, by phone and e-mail, with all those writers every day or so, to make sure they correct their drafts (the solution to many of the problems with writers).

  • Creating a styleguide for new writers, and persuading current writers that we really, really mean it.

  • Bugging the accounting department to get the writers paid on time.

Problems with corporate direction

  • Oh, we have a new concept! So we are redoing the design, and that has an impact on the templates for the articles you edit. Just what? Well, we are not sure yet, but the new design is going to be terrific!

  • Text? Oh, we had to demote that after those creative new ads we are putting in.

  • Oh no, Susie isnít in charge of production any more; itís Bill now.

The solution to most of these problems is conversation--on the phone, over e-mail, and in person. 


Without constant feedback, our writers wander off track, our production people go off on their own, and the accounting department forgets to pay.



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