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Friday, October 15, 2010

Death of Journalism as a Career

There used to be a time that if a person had a desire to go into journalism as a profession, he/she would attend college, choose journalism as their major, learn all he/she could, then graduate and find work in a newspaper or news division of a TV network.  And even though most journalism majors knew they wouldn't become rich, there still was a belief if they worked hard, there would be some job security; a decent salary with benefits.

In this cutthroat world we live in, times are a-changing.   Not only are there less journalists thanks to news gathers like AP and Reuters which sell its content to thousands of news outlets, allowing them to not have to hire reporters of their own, but a new cost-cutting fad is taking place- contributer journalism.

I recently discovered Yahoo News has a new service they offer called 'AssociatedContent'.  Basically, people submit articles freelance and get paid for it, and the more viewers who click on the articles, the more money you make, and the more money they make from the fresh eyes looking at the various ads.

From the AssocatedContent website,  "You earn money for every one thousand page views your content generates (PPM™ rate). The baseline PPM™ rate is currently $1.50 - meaning if you generate 30,000 page views, you're paid $45.00 in Performance Payments. As your library of content grows and your total page views accumulate, your Clout level increases. When you reach Clout 7 and beyond, your PPM™ rate will gradually increase up to a maximum of $2.00 per thousand page views."

In simple terms, if you write an article of quality that takes you an hour to write, and 1,000 different people view your article, your time and energy amounted to $1.50 in labor for that hour.  In perspective, someone pumping gas for a full hour at minimum wage ($7.25/hr) would make more than 4x as you, who is using your intellect and creativity.  AssociatedContent does not have to hire you (no benefits to pay) which means they don't have to fire you (no unemployment to pay).

So this is where journalism is headed, if not here already- why pay a professional journalist $1000/wk to write 10 articles for your newspaper, if you can get the general public to submit the 10 articles on their own and only have to pay them $150-$450/wk for the material?

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