How Journalism Works

Last week I was at Portugal’s largest conference on the Second Life® world, and it deserves a bit more thought than this teaser. One of the sessions was about “Media and SL” and the lesson the audience learned was that we SL evangelists cannot cross our arms and expect positive feedback to drop from the sky and get the media’s attention. No, we have to actively lobby for it! What this mostly means is that it’s up to each and every one of us to grab the journalists’ attention, actively doing so, and not grumble and mumble about the “bad journalists” who don’t seem to care any longer about our virtual world.

As usual, Dogbert knows what to do:

The above image is ©2008, United Feature Syndicate, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduced here under the “Viral Content Distribution” policy as expressed on The Dilbert Official Website ( terms.

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  • Journalists will print your press release as-is, and those who know how to write a news story, will have the upper hand when it comes to grabbing attention: they make his or her work a lot easier. Allow me to explain how I learned it back in journalism school.

    First: the news! News is the 5 Ws: Who, What, Where, When (and Why if applicable). Your first paragraph contains all the news and should be publishable without the rest of the story. Never mind niceties, details or explanations.

    Then you come with the rest of the story. You explain in more detail what it is all about, but keep in mind that the more important details come first.

    The journalist will have X amount of space available for your story. Make sure he can cut it off at the bottom easily if need be – we used to compare articles to roll-up curtains.

    Lastly, don’t be surprised if the journalist comes back to you with an angle you did not expect. So if you have an educational event planned in SL, he or she could mail you with a question about the usefulness of SL to education in general. Be prepared is what I say.

  • If u r talking about professional journalism that I wouldn’t dare to talk about since I’m not professional on that.
    In my deep opinion in the general SL related writers and readers, that would happens because there isn’t any sense of community on the Portuguese scene, as I see in other countries. I give you a clear example, the “largest conference” you refer most of the Portuguese writers as me and others that might interest the conference only noticed when it’s was finished. Most of the Portuguese researchers are working alone and for course this is the result, some mess up and the real work doesn’t shows up on the media.

    Maybe I’m deeply wrong, but this is what I see

  • Well, as for the promotion of the conference, I don’t know, it was well attended: about 1% of the current active Portuguese resident population, which is quite good, frankly. Conferences in other countries have far less than 0.1% 🙂

    It was also extensively promoted over a period of four months, with an in-world “promotional session” that was held every two weeks inside of the very scattered Portuguese communities — always on a different spot, and each community also promoted it using their internal groups. Short notices appeared on the major Portuguese SL-related blogs, some of which are written by professional journalists (although most aren’t 🙂 ). Sure, it didn’t attract the regular media’s attention as much as last year, but it still managed to reach most people. The auditorium was 2/3 full, well within the expected number (more than last year, and most sessions were, on average, more attended than in 2007).

    I would really like to dispell the notion that “most Portuguese researchers are working alone”. It’s totally the opposite: about a hundred are actively working in Second Life, and they all know each other and are in permanent contact between themselves. It’s a closely knitted group, bonding beyond work and towards real-world friendship, and there is no single day when at least a few of them don’t get together because of some common project, ongoing or planned.

    If you mean that the Portuguese researchers work in isolation from the community, that is not even true! Even when compared with other research communities on other countries, on average, they tend to stick together within the Portuguese communities. Some are very active members and community leaders (and many don’t have a clue of what they do outside SL); UTAD is placed right in the middle of the largest Portuguese community; one of the professors of the University of Aveiro is a major fashion designer for the whole of SL; one is a major machinima director; and the list goes endlessly on. No, they’re anything but isolated.

    So why don’t they get mentioned in the traditional media? I’d point out to what I’ve learned: as a lobby, they aren’t pushing strongly enough 🙂 But they should!

  • Dear Gwiney first of all thanks for all your great blog posts one day i will get there too hopefully.
    To the Press as my fellow pre poster suggest
    Journalist are lasy like every budy too .They just need too be feeded with the right material and you get good feedback or at least notice .There is an old saying only bad news are good news (that sells).
    On this point iam very unhappy as LL have a professional PR-Agency in Germany but they just fail .Again and again ,bad press happens but all time ?
    LL should think about it as you mention there are a lot of good journalist even in SL. and easy to find .And its first time Linden Business what get promoted.
    Iam at the moment just talking about the German media and press what is one of the bigest in SL i think .IF they dont get a more professional way doing there bissnes like a professional company used to it they could lost many European residents in the next months if not all of them .

  • Ok Gwyneth, I do understand your point of view, but I still think that is necessary to create an out-world Portuguese group, like a lot of SLresidents uses the What I mean I that the portuguese scene isn’t organized in the hole sense, like just one place where we all can share projects, events, discussion board and others. So everyone that might interest can track all the Portuguese live on the back ground. Sure u do understand that is hard and almost impossible to TP to everywhere or visit all Portuguese blogs and sites to see what is happening.

    That would me more attractive for Portuguese development, researchers and of course while all possible information could be centralized in one or more places, would attract more attention from the general public and others like also the media.

    give u an example: when I need to see what is going on of the Portuguese events and conferences I have to get some lucky when I visit the 30 blogs and sites, and of course I can’t see all.

    Yes let’s keep all different Portuguese communities but I think we need to exchange some information between them.


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