Music Writing in a Digital World

This Webinar was originally broadcast on:
August 24, 2017 Enroll Now
Watch and listen to the original one-hour Webinar in its entirety. This Webinar recording features the full presentation led by Poynter faculty and visiting faculty including Q&A from the audience and resources from the presenter.

Course Overview

Music Writing in a Digital World
Originally Broadcast On:
August 24, 2017
Time Estimate:
One hour for the main presentation and questions. Sometimes presenters stay longer to answer additional questions from participants.

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About Webinars

In this virtual classroom, participants can join in a seminar led by Poynter faculty and visiting faculty. This screencast includes live audio and a slideshow presentation in which participants can post questions and respond to poll questions posed by the host.

Music journalism has been immortalized in pop culture for decades as a profession in which writers hobnob with rock stars in glamorous settings. The reality is far different: Music writing is one of the most complex and knowledge-based types of journalism, and requires constant practice, research and trial-and-error to get right.

This webinar will start with insights into what kinds of research goes into music writing — and why comprehensive research is so important — and delve into the nuts and bolts of how to describe sounds. We'll also cover how to determine context and audience for articles; how to write fairly and respectfully about non-cis-male musicians; and how to find the line between objectivity and subjectivity, even in reviews.

With so many albums released in a given year, music writing remains a powerful way to illuminate hidden gems and go deeper into the motivations of musicians making captivating, life-changing art.

What Will I Learn:
  • How to research for interviews and reviews
  • How researching for music is different than researching other topics
  • How to describe music and sounds
  • How to find the line of objectivity vs subjectivity, even in reviews
  • How to write fairly and respectfully about non-cis-male musicians
  • How to determine the context for an article — who are you writing for?
Who Should Take this Course:

Aspiring and early-career music journalists, as well as seasoned writers looking for tips on how to refine their craft. Editors who work in music or culture, as well as who cover arts criticism and reported work.

Course Instructor:

Annie Zaleski

Annie Zaleski is a Cleveland-based freelance journalist, editor and critic. Previously, she was on staff as an editor at the Riverfront Times and Alternative Press; currently, she's a contributing writer at The A.V. Club and a columnist at Salon. Her profiles, interviews and criticism have appeared in publications such as Rolling Stone, Spin, Vulture, Billboard, The Village Voice, Consequence of Sound, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Las Vegas Weekly. Most recently, she wrote the liner notes for the 25th anniversary deluxe issue of R.E.M.'s Out of Time.

Technical Requirements:

1.4GHz Intel® Pentium® 4 or faster processor (or equivalent) for Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1
512MB of RAM (1GB recommended) for Windows 7 or Windows 8
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, 11; Mozilla Firefox; Google Chrome
Adobe® Flash® Player 11.2+

1.83GHz Intel Core™ Duo or faster processor
512MB of RAM (1GB recommended)
Mac OS X 10.7.4, 10.8, 10.9
Mozilla Firefox; Apple Safari; Google Chrome
Adobe Flash Player 11.2+

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