Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 12, 2019

How Moon of Alabama Is Made - (Re-up)

A reader recently reminded me of the piece below. It was first published on June 6 2019. It is likely of interest to those who are new to this site. The process as described is still the same.
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In one of the interviews Seymour Hersh gave last year about his life as a reporter he was asked to give advice for other writers. He offered three tips:

  • Read before you write.
  • Know more than you write.
  • Get yourself out of the way of the story.

Moon of Alabama writings try to follow those rules. This though is a meta piece about our writing for Moon of Alabama. The third rule thus does not apply.

To publish five to six original pieces per week, each on a different issue, requires appropriate tools, time, and a disciplined workflow.

The MoA Newsroom

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The first half of my days is spent with gathering news. It starts at at 7:00 or 8:00 am with scrolling through the last night's tweets of the 600 Twitter accounts I follow. If there are links of interest they get opened for later reading. Then comes a walk through the major newspapers' headlines and news agency sites. At the end of this process there are 20 or more open browser tabs that require further attention.

After a quick glance they get either closed or saved. The links and headlines will be copied into Notepad++ where each general current issue - Syria, Boeing 737 MAX, China tariffs, etc - has its own file. If there are usable excerpts or quotes they are added too. It is pretty much noon by the time the general reading is finished.

After a quick lunch comes a short check of Moon of Alabama. Comments caught in the spam folder ask to be liberated. The last night's treads might be in need of a clean up.

Another reading round follows through the dozens of blogs on our Links page. In between more stuff comes up on Twitter that again deserves attention. Now, six hours after the workday began, the information collection phase is mostly finished.

Then comes the big question of the day. What should I write about? What are the issues where I could make an interesting point that others have missed?

At times the answer is obvious. On other day there is absolutely no idea and even a walk through the neighborhood does not help to make that decision.

Luckily there are also days where I get help from my neighbors and friends.

The writing itself is rather quick. To type up the raw version of an 800 word story takes only about two hours. Most of the details come from earlier research or from previously collected links. The following editorial and production process now often takes longer than that.

The first reading through the raw story checks for the basic logic and completeness of a piece. Does it really make the point it is supposed to make? Are there claims in it that need to be substantiated? Is this or that detail necessary to make the point or is it just fluff? Do the quotes or excerpts make sense? If necessary, details and links get added or cut at this time. Pictures will have to be found, cropped, resized, uploaded and linked.

So far all this is is done in basic HTML directly in the editor the Typepad system provides. Only now follows the switch to the better readable rich text mode that you see here.

The second reading includes style and layout issues. Are there boring repetitions or long nested construct over which a reader might stumble? Does this sentence use the right tense? English is not my first language and I never lived in an English speaking country. I often need help with it. I use Leo.org to find synonyms or better English expression for whatever meaning I have in mind.

The last reading is abstract from the content and strictly to eliminate typos. Inevitably some will escape.

Time to publish? Not yet. A break is necessary to distance oneself from the text. Filling the washing machine or running some errant helps with that.

Then follow the last three tasks - find a headline, write a summarizing intro sentence and formulate the end. All three are most important for the attractiveness of a piece to readers and to commentators.

Only after all three are edited and rechecked for mistakes the 'Publish' button gets pressed. The day's work is finally on its way to you, the readers of this site.

It is also you, the readers, who make Moon of Alabama possible.

Your writer and host lives alone and is quite frugal. My apartment is in a small town that has now became part of a big city. Everything I need is within easy walking distance. This is the ideal place to do such time consuming work.

But there is also a need for income. I depend on you who read this to contribute to it. Email 'MoonofA @ aol.com' for my address and bank connection. Or use the Paypal button below to send whatever you are willing to spare down my way.

Thank you. - b.

Posted by b on December 12, 2019 at 2:32 UTC | Permalink

Comments

I agree that this description of your efforts should be part of every request for donations because it clearly describes all the time and energy you put into your web site. And many who come here don't seem to have a clue about you or the ongoing web site content production process you go through.

I have been thinking that I will break my annual donation rule this year and send you some more at this time. Your efforts in producing the wide ranging subjects you cover and the community they provide me to bang my drum about public versus private global finance have become quite valuable to me and I want to show my appreciation more.

Best of the season to you and Happy Roaring 20's!!!

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 12 2019 3:23 utc | 1

...
"The last reading is abstract from the content and strictly to eliminate typos. Inevitably some will escape.
Time to publish? Not yet. A break is necessary to distance oneself from the text."

Yep.
Editing one's own prose can be a waste of time if I've fallen deeply in love with its astonishing perfection AND forgotten to pretend that I didn't write what I'm checking. Using PREVIEW helps to create the necessary distance. So does not being in "urgent" mode...

Luckily, it happens to every self-editor, occasionally.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 12 2019 5:58 utc | 2

Love this post. I've donated. I love your work, you take on things, you news breaking posts. I will be donating again, (You are one of only 4 news websites I've donated to) so that is a testament to the quality of your work.
Thankyou
Trauma2000

Posted by: Trauma2000 | Dec 12 2019 9:23 utc | 3

Looks like a nice view into the garden. I will help out this year with a donation because MoA is one of my 4 quick news checks in the morning: Sydney Morning Herald—to find out what the centre-right MSM crowd want us to know; The Guardian—to find out what the centre-left MSM crowd want us to think; Asia Times—to find out want Pepe Escobar is up to; MoA to get the best straight dope. All the best for 2020.

Posted by: Patroklos | Dec 12 2019 9:26 utc | 4

I have a suggestion about the denied for publication comments, the comments of those blacklisted, and the links that accompany such comments or comments that are otherwise removed from the published list..
create a links deleted, comments denied for publication webpage and link it to the off site webpage at a place between your article and the active, allowed and accepted comments. so that all that comes to MoA becomes a part of the total record. organize these unpublished comments and denied links by month, article and comment author.
Overcome lack of completeness. The accepted and published comments do not get ordered by subject and title before closing out the article..
the deleted, removed or denied comments and links are part of the total mix . yes these are comments and link that are produced by the crowd hanging around outside of the bar, Sometimes, not often, barflies need to go outside and check on those standing around maybe have a drink or two with them, feel sorry for them, as their efforts failed the standards, but still they represent possible significant value at times. Sometimes it good to drink some of your own go-juice and admit tolerance sometimes leads to hidden things. when the truth is not obvious or its factual basis embarrasses, or when the truth is fully visible but its discussion of its matters have been made illegal. or when the truth upsets long standing ...
For example consider this link.. it comes from a very unpopular website but it delivers substance Afghan war history. <= describes cover up method and technology and exposes behind the scene activities and demonstrates how democracy is often denied and it might provide the evidence needed for some to use in tort actions against government officials. The redacted Afghanistan Papers

Posted by: snake | Dec 12 2019 10:19 utc | 5

Impressive!

Posted by: Anon | Dec 12 2019 10:39 utc | 6

"RE-UP"

So you are ex-military? I haven't come across that express since I told the base re-up recruiter "forget about it".

Posted by: Tom Verso | Dec 12 2019 12:31 utc | 7

Thank you b.

Your work is important to me.

Happy to contribute, I hope everyone does.

Posted by: nick | Dec 12 2019 13:18 utc | 8

my hushmair or cox.nrt does not recognize
Email 'MoonofA @ aol.com' ...
what to do when wanting to send support?
please reply to kwftg@hushmail.com

Posted by: Frank | Dec 12 2019 14:57 utc | 9

My very first post here, after lurking for a couple of years.. Thank you so much Mr. b for your meticulous research and insights. Please take good care of yourself.

Thanks also to the astute barflies, too many to mention, who maintain a rare high quality of discussion. I try to steer friends to this site in a personal attempt to counter the hysteria promoted by the Murkan MSM.

Posted by: Tiger Lily | Dec 12 2019 14:58 utc | 10

edit
my hushmail or cox.net does not recognize
Email 'MoonofA @ aol.com' ...
what to do when wanting to send support?
please reply to kwftg@hushmail.com

Posted by: Frank | Dec 12 2019 14:59 utc | 11

@ Posted by: Frank | Dec 12 2019 14:59 utc | 11 and 9 with the email problem

Frank, take out the spaces before and after the @ and it will then form a valid email address.

B provides it the way he does so it cannot be harvested by bad folks

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 12 2019 15:11 utc | 12

So you are ex-military?
Kinda make sense now.
I was the most drafted class of the Vietnam War (1966).
Didn't go, couldn't possibly be "military".

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Dec 12 2019 15:57 utc | 13

thanks phyco I feel foolish

Posted by: Frank | Dec 12 2019 16:01 utc | 14

Hi b, I went through your links page and I had a question about it. I noticed you still had Marcy Wheeler’s blog listed, which is surprising to me considering how she discredited herself pushing Russiagate. Does she still write anything worth reading?

If you’re ever looking for another source to go through, I recommend checking out David Stockman. I know he worked under Reagan, but he’s one of the best commentators out there.

I’m donating today!

Posted by: Gage | Dec 12 2019 18:32 utc | 15

@snake - way to complicate. This blog runs on Typepad software which has no such functions. I'll post on comment moderating during the next few days.

@Frank - See psychohistorian comment below yours.

@Tom Verso - "ex miltary" - Deutsche Bundeswehr, 1979 to 1981. "Re-up" simply means reposting an old blogpost. Nothing military in that.

@all - thanks you for your encouraging words and donations.

Posted by: b | Dec 12 2019 20:56 utc | 16

My heartiest thanks to you,B for all dedicated and hard work without which we would surely and frequenly fail to disentangle from the
presstitutes everyday lies you know so well.
You should also deem as a compliment my personal info that there are days and world complicated such matters and media BS where I get lost... And then I steer course to the M/A.

Posted by: augusto | Dec 12 2019 21:20 utc | 17

Thanks for all of your hard work and always incisive analysis!

Posted by: MG | Dec 16 2019 5:34 utc | 18

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