Readers of dotCommonweal, especially young readers who live near New York City, might be interested to know that this past Saturday The Weal hosted its first writing workshop at the New York Public Library. The workshop focused on "writing online" and was led by digital editor Dominic Preziosi.
We were a motley (and so very "Commonweal") crew: folks from Keystone Catholics, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, NETWORK, Yale Divinity School; social workers, public health and justice department advocates; and two guys from Jersey—one who works as an economic research analyst and the other at an education publishing company—whose own blog is known to be a reasonably moderate take on "American politics and economic policy, Millennial culture, the Catholic Church, and the intersection of any subset thereof." We're fans.
The afternoon consisted of reading, writing, listening, and asking questions. Dominic spoke from years of experience and gave us practical tips: how to link, attribute information, and update a post with new information, among other things. We read different kinds of online writing (including Cathy Kaveny's "How about NOT Firing Her?" post from last February) and dissected examples of various types*: recaps, takes, reflections, reviews, thought pieces, analyses, etc. We discussed ways to build confidence in our writing and to look beyond and rise above the noisy, kitschy, competitive, social media atmosphere we spend too much time scrolling through. We learned to ask "what do I know?" and "why does my audience need to know what I know at this point in time?"
So, what do you need to know? The Weal's first writing workshop was a success, and we're eager to host our next. Stay tuned.