The E-Gods Have Spoken: It’s Divinely Right that Content is Still King

By hurley_gurlie182, morguefile

Last weekend I attended the Editors’ Association of Canada conference in Vancouver, BC. Called Editing in the Age of E-Everything, the presentations covered everything from “Online Editing and How to Avoid Selling Your Soul in Age 2.0” by Karen Pinchin, editor of Vancouver OpenFile to “Becoming a Better Tweditor, One Tweet at a Time” by Daphne Gray-Grant, AKA The Publication Coach.

The single most important thing I got out of the weekend? I’m not losing my mind!

Every e-expert who presented was on the same page in saying that, while search engines matter, content is still king; that readers are tiring of recycled and plagiarized garbage, and looking for content that tells them something new and does it well; and that, in an era in which stories get written and thrown up online in the blink of an eye, writers who know how to research and to write coherent sentences, along with editors who know how to fact-check  and ensure that sentences are punctuated to say what they mean, are, if anything, more important than ever.

Thank you, e-gods!

When I first started writing this blog, I was, after much resistance, prepared to concede that print was dead but also hoping that online publishers, as well as readers, would see the common sense, on many levels, of continuing to make room for the skills of print writers.

But as time has gone on, I’ve heard a growing chorus of people protesting the poor quality of writing cluttering up the digital airwaves. (See “The Cost of Online Content” and “More Controversy around Online Writing.”)

I’ve finally come full circle. Based on the observation that my 15-year-old daughter and her friends all read print newspapers and paper books, I’m beginning to believe that print is not going anywhere. Then there was the post on the popular Copyblogger advising bloggers to return to some basic print conventions, such as copyediting, if they want their blogs to be taken seriously.

Now a weekend filled with presentations revealing that online writing that caters only to search engines doesn’t hold readers’ interest; that clever headlines really do still attract attention; and that readers are less and less willing to put up with online garbage; and I’m virtually giddy.

Over the next week or so, I’m going to zero in on a few of the sessions I attended, both to share interesting content and to provide examples of how a scribe can be used to summarize meetings and conference content for those who couldn’t attend, or even for those who were there but were interested in the content of sessions that were occurring simultaneously.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying a few days of revelling in apparently being right.

[NB: The five posts showing what a scribe does with conference-style note-taking include: “In the Age of E-Editing, Editors More Needed Than Ever,” “Twediting in the Age of E-Everything,” “E-Books Offer Exciting Opportunities for Editors,” and “Writing and Editing for the Web: Not for Arachnophobics,” and “Reinventing Yourself: Scary but Exciting.”]

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