Whither Value? ...
"What is Journatic," you ask? Aside from a company with a stupid "tech" name?
Journatic is a "Chicago-based media content provider" that "aggregates data," according to the Tribune and Miner's piece.
It is also part of the end of journalism as we know it.
TribLocal, "founded in 2007 to provide suburban communities with hyperlocal online news and a weekly print edition," according to Miner, provides valuable information.
10 50 Police Department vehicles reported in Merrionette Park
"The Cook County Sheriff reported an instance of 10 50 Police Department vehicles (7756) on Jan. 28. The incident occurred in the 11700 block of S. Kedzie Ave. in Merrionette Park."
Well, now, don't you feel, um ... something?
But Journatic will (somehow) vastly improve upon such crack reporting.
Miner writes: "Data is collected and processed in the Philippines, but the writing, of necessity, goes on back home."
That's right, the data that will make up the stories about what's going on in your hometown will be collected and proceed in the Philippines, but the writing will be local.
Good, right? Reporters will retain their jobs!
Journatic is currently hiring freelancers and will pay per piece.
Good, right? With a decent per-word rate, writers can earn a decent wage!
Journatic pays a flat rate per piece, in tiers, including $4 stories and $2 stories.
Do not adjust your screen.
Yes, $4 stories and $2 stories.
Now, there may be some who think that two bucks to convert data into a nonsensical item about police-department vehicles is a pretty good deal, but a) a nonsensical item about police-department vehicles is nonsensical and therefore meaningless, and 2) there very well may be something happening in your town that you may actually need to know about which you will likely not know about because who is going to let you know about it? A data-aggregating computer in the Philippines?
Here's the thing about content:
Content worth publishing costs money to produce.
And I'm not talking two dollars.
Journalists and writers of other stripes possess a skill, a skill you do not possess, even though you think you do.
Yes, most folks can string together words to form a sentence. Or something resembling a sentence.
But most people can do basic addition and subtraction.
That does not make them accountants.
I expect to see absurd postings on craigslist.
Here's a recent gem:
You can click on it to see a larger image, but these are the key bits:
- "Need a writer for blog posts"
- "Looking for someone who can write, my writing is horrible. Someone who is versed in concerts and is able to describe your concert experiences."
- "Compensation: no pay"
Yes, the gist of this posting is "I want/have a blog but I'm a horrible writer so write my blog for me for free."
Um, bub? Here's a thought, for free, even:
IF YOU'RE A HORRIBLE WRITER, DON'T BLOG.
And here's another:
Again, you can click on it for a larger image, but here are the key bits:
- "Make your Mother proud, write for us!"
- "Looking for Good Writers and Photographers"
- "Email for more application directions."
- "Compensation: no pay"
Ah, yes, what mother wouldn't be proud to know that she raised a child who is a good writer or a good photographer (or both) who is willing to work for free, and – even better – who is expected to apply for the privilege!
And since I doled out a free bit of advice for the previous poster, allow me to be as generous here:
"Gimme" is shorthand for "give me," therefore, in this instance, "gimmie" is shorthand for "give mie," and "mie" is not a word. You're welcome.
But I hoped – naively, it seems – that a paper such as the Tribune would still value those who report the news.
I understand that the Internet has led many people to believe that information should be free. But it's not.
There's a reason that you can't walk into a bookstore, grab any books or magazines that interest you, and walk out the door. There's a reason you're expected to pay for them.
Yes, we live in a world of information overload. But all information is not created equal.
Some of it is important. Some of it is engaging. Much of it is not.
And those who have the skill and talent to bring the important and engaging information to light have bills to pay just like you.
Do not expect them to work for free. Or two dollars.
Because you get what you pay for.