Category Archives: Writing

This Is Not Journalism

ReporterOne of my four brothers has a journalism degree with a photojournalism emphasis from Northern Illinois University.  Randy started his career at the Kewanee Star Courier (Illinois) as a photographer back in the 1980’s, before the internet became a place where many people looked for their daily news.  His next career move was to become the editor of our home-town weekly newspaper, the Galva News (Illinois)—still before the internet news boom.  I lived in Wisconsin at the time but I subscribed to the Galva News so I could read his essays.  He produced a regular weekly column where he often wrote comical essays about what it was like to grow up in our family with five little boys, one big boy (our dad) and one regular adult (our mom).  Lots of really great writing.

But, working for small-town newspapers, Randy did not just take photographs for publication, he also wrote news articles for both newspapers.  That is, he was not just a photojournalist, he was a full journalist.

I, on the other hand, was trained as an engineer.  I have never really thought the term “web log” described the contents of RxTrace very well but Continue reading This Is Not Journalism

Three Years of Heat and Light

I published my first essay on RxTrace three years ago on July 4, 2009 (see “Welcome to rxTrace”).  It took just two days after that first essay became visible on the internet before people were finding it through search engines and Google Alerts, a remarkable feature of self-publishing.  Since then I have published over a hundred essays on a wide range of topics exploring the intersection between the pharmaceutical supply chain, track and trace technology, standards and regulatory compliance.

This past year the number of people reading RxTrace regularly have more than doubled (see “The Abrupt Surge of Interest in Serialization and ePedigree Topics”).  That is a reflection of the steady march of time toward the effective dates of the California Pedigree law and other serialization mandates around the world, but it is also, I hope, a reflection of the type of writing about these subjects and perspectives that you can’t find anywhere else.

This year the most popular essay was “How Counterfeit Avastin Penetrated the U.S. Supply Chain”, which is the first essay to Continue reading Three Years of Heat and Light

Summer Writing

A fine summer vacation!

It’s summer and for whatever reason, readership tends to go down in the summer.  People are busy with vacations and vacation planning.  After work hours and weekends are dedicated to family and outdoor fun.  That’s the way it should be.

I do have some specific essays that I want to write this summer but I intend to be a little less regular until the end of August when I will return to my weekly publishing schedule.  I may also post one or two essays this summer that are not directly related to my normal subject matter.  Call it summer recreational thinking/writing.  Watch for those and let me know what you think about them.

There are a couple of big changes coming up Continue reading Summer Writing

Writing Is Thinking. For Example, Ken Traub

Ken Traub

Noted writer, editor, literary critic and teacher, William Zinsser, is known for the quote “writing is thinking on paper”.  Today I don’t think paper has much to do with it, but what I think he means is, the very process of writing something forces a person to think about the thing they are writing about, and then embody that thinking clearly in the written output (paper or electronic).  As you might imagine, I agree with this.  I like to write and I believe that my own experience with writing has greatly improved my thinking.  For a really great essay on the topic of writing and thinking, see The Secret About Writing That No One Has The Balls To Tell You by Pete Michaud…and don’t miss the many excellent comments below his essay.

I’ve been writing about ideas surrounding my professional experience much longer than the year and a half I have been writing RxTrace.  In fact, I have written some pretty legendary emails and other essays over my career.  Legendary because they raised ideas that were either unpopular or otherwise not wanted by the recipient(s).  If you know me very well then chances are you’ve read one or two of those.

In a previous job, I did a fair amount of Continue reading Writing Is Thinking. For Example, Ken Traub