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Blogger fined $420k for #fakenews

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The 'Belle Effect' is an age-old syndrome already rife across all our media platforms. When will we learn?

Australia’s Federal Court in Melbourne has handed down a verdict following an investigation by Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) which determined that the blogger and self-proclaimed cancer survivor, Belle Gibson, had misrepresented herself and made fraudulent claims.

In a landmark case that should get the attention of all social media gurus and ‘influencers’, it highlights the vulnerability of the public in getting their news and advice from so-called experts via unverified social media sources ie #fakenews. A glaring case of ‘people believe what they want to believe’, fueled by a popular media hungry for sensation and a complete lack of fact-checking in their rush jump on the bandwagon.

Young, blonde and vivacious, Ms Gibson seduced not only the public, but also the media and publishing industry with her story of self-curing brain cancer with diet and alternative therapie…

Guidelines for starting a travel story

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Remember standing up if front of your primary school class and reciting “what I did in my holidays”? Did they stay awake? The same is true for travel writing and unless you grab your audience’s attention early, you’ve lost them forever.

“We did this” and “then we went there” are the travel writing equivalent of watching paint dry. Travel writing needs colour and excitement. It needs to transport the reader into the middle of the location, immerse them in the experience and leave them wanting more.

When I’m trying to start a story, I always remember some advice given to me by Don George of Lonely Planet.

“Find the passion point,” he told me.

By this, Don means pinpoint the one key moment in your journey, trip or experience that encapsulates the event. It might be an encounter with an interesting person (this is always good) or a moment of visual climax that was why you went there in the first place. There are no rules to this except to say that if the moment excited you for whatever reason…

[updated] How to share your Facebook videos with anyone

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UPDATE: During 2016, Facebook changed the video player interface and moved the video link. But fear not, it's still shareable with non-FB friends and contacts.

All you do now is right-click on the video panel

And the new menu will appear. Copy the link from the box.


Below is the original post from 2015 >>


A little known and under-used feature of Facebook is the ability to share a link from your uploaded videos to anyone on the net, even if they don't have a Facebook account.

Here's a quick-and-dirty how-to. I'm assuming you already know how to upload a video and where to find it afterwards.

TIP:
You can click any image to enlarge.




"Because they say so" and famous misattributed quotes.

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One of the most annoying and lazy habits of some writers is to refer to the nebulous entity, “they”.
“They say travel broadens the mind, ...”[1]
"Don't listen to what they say ..." Nice sentiments, but who are 'they'?

“They” are not a trusted source or reliable reference for any fact or assertion. Using “they” to reaffirm an opinion not only insults your readers by expecting them to just consume whatever you write (because you are such an authority), it is also puts on show your inability or unwillingness to actually research something properly.

Okay, while it may be safely assumed that more than half your readers will just take your word for it, there is also a percentage who will ask, “says who?”. Thereafter, none of your writing carries any weight at all.

Simply substituting ‘scientists’ or ‘critics’ doesn’t work either unless you can point to exactly who these learned individuals are. If quoting ‘studies’, then what studies performed by whom and when.

Many of …

It sounded right! Homonym horrors

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I confess this is not the most original of posts, but the topic is one that continues to interest writers who want to improve their craft and avoid embarrassing mistakes - just like me.

We should all be familiar with the most cringeworthy like: they’re and there; to, too and two and then and than. Autocorrect features in word processing programs are no help either and often serve to make matters worse.

But these easily made errors are still common, yet less obvious, and we continue to see them in uncorrected work on blogs or even on work submitted to editors. Are you guilty?

Pore or Pour
When one studies a document or map, one pores over it.

Be absorbed in reading or studying (something) [Oxford]

One Fell Swoop
Not a ‘foul swoop’, as is the most common misuse.

As in with one swoop of a weapon like an axe or sword.

Faint-hearted
To be timid or lacking courage.

Not ‘feint-hearted’, as one editor was quick to remind me.

Sailing unchartered waters


Er, no. Stuff that is not on a map (or ch…

Writers, isn’t it about time we kicked the bucket list?

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Sometimes a cliche is thrashed to such a point it transcends even the definition of cliche. The term ‘Bucket List’ is one such overused phrase, beaten to a literary pulp.

Now that this term approaches its tenth birthday, I’m wondering whether those who use it with such gusto even recall its genesis? Clearly the creative geniuses who conceived the Malaysia Airlines promotion in 2014 had lost track of the meaning behind it.

“To enter, customers will need to tell Malaysia Airlines which destinations are on their must-see bucket list after booking their flight” the competition tag-line read. Of course, with two massive tragedies to deal with, references to buckets was less than ideal. Fortunately there were a couple of million astute readers ready to remind them of the folly of their words.

As a refresher to those who may have been living in a cave this last decade, the term ‘Bucket List’ refers to a wishlist of things to do or see before one ‘kicks the bucket’ ie dies.

While it may have…

So you want to host a travel journalist

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Travel journalists, more than ever these days, come in all shapes and sizes. We have our share of prima donnas, snobs and princes/princesses, but the majority of genuine travel journalists just want to get the job done responsibility and respectfully.



The new wave of social media practitioners means that there is an even wider range of skill sets, personalities and experience all requiring their own considerations for PR hosts.

The Australian Society of Travel Writers, where I have been a member for more than a decade, have issued their own guidelines for PRs wishing to host media.

If you have your own observations or advice, we'd love to hear from you. Please comment below.

Related story: PR and Media Survey