Thursday, December 06, 2007

The power of traditional media: NPR and Kipling

I've gotten several phone calls from friends who heard my comment read on NPR's All Things Considered this evening. I was upset with their Tuesday story on a new Rudyard Kipling museum in Mumbai, and dashed off an email to the comment form on their site.

A few observations:

* I write on this blog at least weekly, and rarely hear from friends about its contents. The reach of traditional media and its broadcast/push format still have incredible power to communicate and persuade.

* I can write whatever I want on this blog, and yet I'm thrilled to get 30 seconds of airtime, edited and second-hand, on NPR. I can't quite express why that is; perhaps because it feels like I've passed some test.

* "Passing a test" is a very useful metric for writing. I actually crafted my comment carefully to be succinct and punchy, knowing that if I rambled I wouldn't get air time. Editors may sometimes be wrong, but they're direct; whereas if your audience doesn't like what or how you write, they just go away, typically without telling you.

* Don't offer up shallow interpretations of Kipling when I'm around, unless you've read a lot more of him and about him than I have, and are rhetorically fast on your feet.

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