21 April 2007

Even researchers can write about IT with style

Those mad fools at EPSRC recently showed their lack of judgement by inviting me to be one of the judges for this year's Computer Science Writing Competition. They made up for this lack of wisdom by also lining up some of the country's leading lights in academic IT research as judges. EPSRC has now put out a Press Release on the results of our deliberations, all done electronically with the teeniest carbon footprint imaginable.

The interesting bit as a judge from the writing side rather than an IT expert was that most of the articles made a pretty good fist of explaining their subjects. They were no worse than some of the copy that has appeared in print, and certainly better than some that has come across my desk from "professional" writers in IT.

If there was a general trap that caught all of the writers it was that they took a bit too long to get to the message, and to tell us what they were writing about. These articles were, after all, around 750 words long. More a news item than a feature.

But I reckon that most of the pieces I read could have made it into something like the Guardian's interesting technology section.

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