Knowledge and Scholarship
Who's Who - Randy Herkowitz
By Hervé St-Louis
August 8, 2012 - 11:50
Randy Herkowitz was an action figure collector I hired to write articles for ComicBookBin. His first published article was published in mid-March 2008. In 2008, I felt that my output on action figure articles was poor and decided to get a writer to compensate for that. Action figures had always been very popular at ComicBookBin but although I still collected a few, I was way behind in my coverage.
Randy had his own Website and sold some action figures too. But Randy was not a traditional feature writer. Although he blogged a lot about action figures, he just wasn’t the traditional kind of feature writer I was looking for. I did try to steer him and direct him in the direction I wanted, but his articles, to me always lacked something. He really tried to write the best he could and adhere to the form I wanted. I can’t fault him for working very hard. He did.
I don’t blame Randy at all for my disappointment. Maybe my friend Andy Doan is right and I have expectations set too high for most mortals! I recruited Randy because he was crazy about action figures, but he was not a feature writer. Many action figure reviewers and pundits do well without constraints in a blogging environment. But if asked to write like professional writers, they break down and have difficulty delivering. To some extent, I would say this is a problem with many bloggers. The art and craft of writing for a news agency as a reporter or a reviewer is indeed a skill one has to master and quite different than topic expertise. In fact, a good writer can probably write about any topic he is assigned to. But a subject expert may not. Many people say that bloggers make great potential writers and reporters. I disagree. The only bloggers who perform are those trained in traditional feature writing.
The value of journalism schools are going down because there is a perception that news writing and news outlets are dying because of the Web. That news agencies only care about bloggers who should be cheaper and capable of delivering in their own words news to the masses. Successful bloggers have a structure and a method. They may hide it under tons of colloquialism, but if they were not great communicators, their blogs would not take off. Randy was a professional who did rewrite a few of his articles and was very cordial to work with, but I spent too much time trying to steer him down a path which ultimately would have been better spent if I just wrote the articles myself. If you must ask, yeas, I’ve been trained in feature news writing, although I tend to slack off often on my form. But when ComicBookBin started, I was much more careful and much less colloquial.
Anyone who claims that a college education in journalism, broadcasting, English or just good solid humanities and social science and liberal arts degrees are useless in today’s online world has not had to recruit solid writers for a Web publication for the better half of ten years. Even online good writing matters. Randy was not a bad writer, but I failed to coach him properly so he could write for ComicBookBin, the way I wanted.
Who's Who @ComicBookBin
is a feature celebrating the 10th anniversary of ComicBookBin where
publisher Hervé St-Louis features writers past and present that have
contributed to ComicBookBin over the years.
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