Why I (Usually) Hate Writing for the Media

Justin Erik Halldór Smith in his own blog:

Trying to get a point across in public writing, whether established or clickbait media (a distinction of vanishing significance), with just the nuance, force, and connotations you intend, is like trying to perform a violin solo underwater. You can be as virtuosic as you like, but the medium you’re playing in is going to distort the signal to the point that your effort becomes a vain expenditure, and the result of it comes across as a dull, warped, and muted sound wave to which silence would have been preferable.

Most people who have not written for the media do not know that contributors are prevented from choosing the title of their own ‘piece’, and often see it for the first time only when it is already in ‘print’ (i.e., usually, already circulating on social media). At the low end of journalism, where I try not to go, this droit d’éditeur of framing the article by choice of title and subheading can result in true offenses against the intention and person of the author. But the title is only the first of many denaturing changes imposed in the course of editing, a process by which the author’s own voice is removed as if it were a weed, and replaced with a monocultured word-lawn spreading imperiously out from the rules about semi-colons and double quotation marks that are justified in the name of ‘house style’. Style is an expansible and contractible notion, and typically is interpreted to mean, in the current media landscape, not just the conventions of punctuation, but absolutely everything touched upon in old Strunk and White.

More here.