Hiya writer friends,
This year, more than 3,300 workers from 70 UK companies began the world’s largest trial of a four-day workweek. As someone who routinely works a seven-day week, I’m fascinated by this. Because I love my work and truly enjoy every facet of it, I rarely think of my days as being filled with “work.” I also don’t distinguish between work that I only do to earn an income and the work that I do to further my dreams.
But the experiment got me thinking. What if I made that distinction? And what if I had two days a week where I didn’t open up my computer at all?
So, I’m running an experiment of my own.
1. I will work four days each week (Mon-Thur), on this newsletter and for my freelancing clients.
2. Friday will be my weekly 10,000-word day . I’ll be writing my books.
3. Saturday and Sunday are family days. I’ll allow personal writing, but ideally no client work.
For the first few weeks, I imagine this will be exceptionally difficult. But I really love my life in Brighton and I want to make more time to enjoy it. So I’m going to try.
Enjoy the issue!
NEWS & VIEWS
AI for journalists
Newsrooms around the world are increasingly adopting artificial intelligence into their day-to-day operations. A report by the Associated Press released in March this year discovered that “while there were concerns about handing off human work to machines, there is nevertheless strong support among local newsrooms for automating tasks that could free journalists for deeper reporting, streamline production or enhance content monetization.”
In 2019, Polis, the London School of Economics’ media think tank, and the Google News Initiative partnered to launch the JournalismAI Initiative and fellowship program. It began this year with the goal of innovating new tools that assist the work of journalists.
Why it matters: While the speculation that 90% of news will be written by AI by 2025 seems like a gross overestimation, newsrooms have discovered that handing over repetitive, simple, or data-intensive tasks to AI can allow reporters to focus on the creative and analytical tasks that require human ingenuity. Associated Press has been using their AI system, Wordsmith, to generate stories about corporate earnings and Quartz has had an AI studio for many years.
Key takeaway: As I’ve previously written in this newsletter, AI is already being used for writing fiction. It will continue to be used for data gathering, extrapolating trends from data, and predicting future events based on past performance. The 2019 JournalismAI project will aim to assist with one of three areas in news: gathering information, producing content, or distributing the finished content to an audience.
While AI conjures up images of robots and automation, remember, if you’re using apps such as Grammarly, ProWritingAid or Otter.ai, you’ve been using AI already.
The do’s and don’ts of reporting on death and grief: “Reporting on loss of life is one of the most delicate forms of journalism, one that calls for skilled and nuanced sensitivity from news providers. More than simply documenting recent events, it is important to carefully consider how reporting can impact the lives of those directly affected, including grieving family and friends.”
How can journalists report responsibly on the cost of living crisis? “Siddiqa recommends factoring in three ‘pillars’ into coverage of poverty: statistics and data; individual stories; and systems and structures.”
Erica Verrillo has published a list of 16 speculative fiction magazines open for submissions. These include:
Existential Hologram: A Science Fiction Anthology
Genre : Science Fiction, Virtual Reality, Simulation Theory. “What if everything we see, hear, taste and touch represents a minuscule fraction of the whole of existence? We want tales centered on the realities of reality — from the askew to the virtual (think Twilight Zone to The Matrix or Tron).” Word count: 2,000 to 14,000 words. Payment : Royalty split. Deadline : Open until filled.
Space Horror Anthology
Genre : Stories with one horror trope and one sci-fi trope. Payment : $25. (Open until filled.)
Genre : Fantasy and science fiction short stories. Length: 2000–5000 words, but longer will be accepted. Etherea Magazine is an Australian publication, so payment will be made in Australian dollars, Payment : A$100 per story, regardless of length. They are also looking for flash fiction, from 500 to 1000 words. A flat rate of A$25 will be paid per story. Horror may be accepted in this section, however it must have an element of the supernatural.
Check out the full list and find links to submit on this page.
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What if you wrote something simply for the joy of the writing it?
What if you wrote to someone you’ve screwed over and apologized?
What if you wrote to a writer whose work you love and expressed your appreciation?
What if you wrote to an editor and asked for a raise?
What if you wrote your mother a letter?
What if you wrote out a check to someone who needs it?
What if you wrote away your fears?
What if, today, you wrote something that had the potential to change someone’s life?
What if, today, you wrote something that had the potential to change yours?
INDIA: “After a year and a half of struggling to find work, Kotwal realized that neither the alternative media nor the emerging ‘Bahujan media’—a term given to the new media that covers socially discriminated castes—were being run by women from a caste or religious minority. “I wanted to have my own platform and mic to represent my people, so I created one,” said Kotwal.”
UK: Police chiefs have been issuing secret orders telling officers to inform bosses if they know any news reporters—as they would have to do with convicted criminals or extremists… Ruth Smeeth, the chief executive of Index on Censorship, said: “Index is increasingly concerned at the seemingly growing perception within the British police that journalists are seen as unsavoury or potentially disreputable individuals for officers to associate with.”
GERMANY: “Amid new inflationary signals in Germany, the executive committee of the Federal Association of Printing and Media is communicating its concerns about paper prices – which are dogging the publishing business in many parts of the world this summer.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.”
– Steve Maraboli
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