How to write an article for the Information Week Magazine

Each week I receive printed version of Information Week magazine (most likely they “ll stop sending me the magazines, if they “ll run into this blog). Typically, I read every headline and one or two articles from each magazine. When you read the same publication long enough, you can see how they put their “analytical rdquo; articles together. Here “s an example of an article written by a not overly technical journalist: Web 2.0:Ingredients for a site makeover

Let me try to guess how this article was written. A journalist got an assignment, “Web 2.0, whatever this means, is hot. Write about it “. The journalist does not really know what to write, simple Google search does not help, so he contacts PR people of several IT firms. He calls to XYZ firm and says, “My name is so-and-so, I “m writing an article on Web 2.0. Can one of your Web 2.0 experts send me a one paragraph quote on the subject, and I “ll mention the XYZ name in my publication rdquo;. The XYZ PR person sends an internal email titled “We “ve got an opportunity to get quoted in Information Week rdquo;. S/he asks their technical people for a quote. Sure enough, someone will respond with opinion.

The writer gathers all received quotes, edit them to the best of his knowledge and put them in an order adding some glue to make a smooth read for consumption during morning commute or while waiting for an appointment in the receptionist “s area.

This would not be too bad if the author would be knowledgeable on the subject, which does not seem to be the case in this particular article. These are some of the quotes from the article that I did not like that much:

“AJAX hellip;is the ‘new new thing ‘ rdquo; ndash; is seven years old still new-new?

“deploy Ajax and its collection of technologies slowly rdquo; ndash; Ajax is a collection of techniques, not technologies.

“Ajax combines several programming tools and interfaces including JavaScript, dynamic HTML (DHTML), Extensible Markup Language (XML), cascading style sheets (CSS), and the Document Object Model (DOM). That collection of tools can help bring about cost reductions and functional improvements. rdquo; ndash; I “m not even sure what this was supposed to mean.

Yet another zero-info phrase: “You will be able to interact more easily and get value from those interactions, ” said Tony Karrer, the CEO of TechEmpower, a Web software development firm. “Also, you will be able to piece together solutions from free or inexpensive services. ”

Then (typical for Ajax articles) the author includes citations that scare/warn people that wrong implementation of AJAX can have bad results.

Want more? Translate this into English: “An interactive Web experience can be produced in any number of ways, including using Adobe ‘s Flash animation plug-ins and even Active X controls. rdquo;

Here “s another gem: “The new-style Web site isn ‘t just about fancy dancing icons, either. Spend some time thinking about what kinds of data you intend to have, and where it will reside. rdquo; I guess, this one aimed toward Java Applet “s dancing Duke.

Here “s a piece of glue to stitch two different citations: “Once you are finished coding, remember to check your work with any number of tools that are just a download away rdquo;.

Yet another piece of wisdom: “When looking for a Web consultant, know whom you are hiring. (See sidebar.) “Everybody with a computer, Photoshop, and an HTML tool such as Dreamweaver thinks they ‘re a Web developer, ” said Adams. “Very few are actually worth the money you are paying. ” The sidebar is as useless as the article itself.

An article should be either informational or entertaining. This one did not fall into any of these categories. After reading it, an IT manager from Alabama will think to himself, “I did not understand this Web 2.0 and RIA before, and now they “ve confused me even more. I “d rather stick to tried and true Cobol. Mary, please bring me the printouts from yesterday “s nightly batch job. rdquo;


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