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Travel Writers and Photographers - Think Like Editors

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Official Travel Notes Blog

Sorry folks, it's rants time.

The Internet medium has allowed just about anyone to call themselves a travel writer or photographer; even a 'published' travel writer.

However, some of the material I've been looking at recently almost makes me cringe and cry out for more editorial control.

There are articles about top things to do or see by people who have probably never left their computer screen to research a travel destination in their life, illustrated by photographs they've 'borrowed' from elsewhere online; often without even giving credit to the photographer.

There are also far too many blog posts created just to link to another blog, which again masquerades as something of a 'travel article'; inspired by yet another blog post, which may eventually lead us to the real source.

That wouldn't be so bad, if people didn't use Twitter to send the link to their hastily mashed up effort at writing; just for their following flock to waste their time clicking around to reach the real story.

If people can't create original content, then why not use editorial judgement and link to the original article from their tweet?

There's also the increasing use of Twitpic to push out photographs (through Twitter) of 'travel photography'. I was even duped into looking at some that were taken through a car window.

Then there's a link circulating to something claiming to offer tips on taking better travel photographs; but the photography used to illustrate this only shows that the photographer still needs to work on the tips.

Not one of the photographic examples stands out enough to be worthy of publication in traditional media.

Tip number 10 was 'Take a lot of photos and don’t delete them'.

Well, well..... I'd say take plenty of photographs by all means - but delete the duds; unless your intention is to show me how not to take photographs, as a way of producing something better.

My number one travel photography tip would be to look at magazines like National Geographic and be inspired by the great pictures produced by the professional photographers who do get published.

Look at the framing and exposure of these images and train your eye to see what makes them so special. Then be critical of the pictures you take that aren't.

So to all of you who claim to be travel writers and photograpers, perhaps it's time to start thinking like an editor and be selective in what you (as publisher) choose to publish.


At 6/4/09 13:59, Blogger andy said...

Fairly sound advice really, but not all of us who write necessarily believe ourselves to be professional. I myself just happen to enjoy writing, but if I'm going to write, I'd like to think it will be read by someone else. Sometimes I think afterwards that I could have done better, so I may revisit a piece and tinker, but I don't get paid for it so try not to worry too much, and hope I can build up a following by getting something right.

Thanks for the heads up though, I keep an eye out for your Tweets and useful links, as I do with all my Twitter 'friends'.


At 6/4/09 15:09, Anonymous Dominique said...

I want to put my best work out there on my blog. I strongly believe that the quality of my posts will help draw people to visit my blog and help generate new opportunities for me.
One of my primary goals for Midwest Guest was to let people see what I could do with regional travel writing, gain some visibility for my work and, hopefully, generate some new paid writing opportunities for myself.
I'm just starting a new (paid) gig as one of several staff bloggers for a site. The site owner found me online, through my blog and Twitter, and approached me with a freelance job offer.

Quality does count for something :)

At 6/4/09 16:09, Anonymous Keith said...

Mondays are good for rants! Like Wolfeeboy, I enjoy writing about my travels and hope someone would like it. I'm by no means a professional travel writer but I do take it very seriously and try to be as professional as I possibly can. I've not encountered any pseudo travel writer yet but thanks for the heads up!


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