Questions for the journalist – part I


Last Wednesday, I was invited by Cybergrrl Oh to her Athena Isle to talk about my work as a journalist in Second Life. Weekly meetings are part of her Second Life Writers’ Club. Luckily, I wasn’t expected to hold a speech – just introduce myself and answer people’s questions as well as I could. I was nervous about no-one coming, that too many would come, and that I would make a complete fool out of myself.

The whole thing turned out to be a very enjoyable session. Lots of people came, and they all had interesting questions. I feel I learned at least as much from them as they did from me. Some of their questions made me think about things I hadn’t thought about before.

It lasted more than an hour, and I have an eleven pages transcript of all the dialogue. I will try to give you some highlights here.

For example: Trinity Coulter asked how I find and decide what is news in SL. A good question. I try to find news by being a member of groups that are relevant to me – i.e. arts and entertainment groups. Then, I shamelessly ask people I think might be useful for me if I can add them as friends, so I can IM them in the middle of the night to hear if they know about anything interesting. How do I decide what’s news? Often, I simply trust my gut. Would I be interested in reading about it myself? Have I heard about it before? Add to that the obvious news, that are new exhibitions, concerts, projects, galleries, builds, et cetera.

How did I start? Did I first write for free to build an in-world resume? No, not really. I’m a journalist in FL too, and I have confidence in my writing skills after having freelanced for nearly ten years. What I did, was to ask a newspaper if they would be interested in an article on The L Word sim, which was quite new one year ago. They said they would be if it was well written.

So that’s my advice to new writers: Find something to write about, ask if anyone’s interested, and go ahead. And remember: If one of the papers doesn’t want it, maybe another one will.

Trinity then asked if a good way to start is by choosing an area that interests you. Yes, it is. I’ve written lousy articles that I haven’t been able to understand myself on areas I don’t know anything about. It’s hard, and it’s boring.

Krosstar Karas asked if I only cover metaverse topics, or if FL topics find their way in-world. No, and yes. FL topics, as long as they have SL relevance, are a part of my job. Some artists display or perform their FL work in SL, FL companies and universities are represented here, and FL influences a lot of SL.

What’s the pay? I work for Second Life News Network, and they pay more than the place where I first worked – between 1000 and 2500 Lindens per article, depending on the length. In FL money, this translates to peanuts of course, but 2500 Lindens helps a long way in building a decent SL wardrobe. Especially if you write one article per week.

Okay, I’ll split this post in two. More to come tomorrow.


~ by theresecarfagno on February 29, 2008.

3 Responses to “Questions for the journalist – part I”

  1. Wish I had been there, it sounds really interesting.

    The only time I’ve been interviewed was by the SL Police Force over an incident best left un-mentioned. ;)

  2. I’m sure it will make a very good blog post!

  3. how much did they pay

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