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Monday, February 9, 2015

Felix Salmon takes it back

Felix Salmon has written some advice to journalists. See if you can read it without giggling

Indeed, the exact same forces which are good for journalism and good for owners are the forces which are bad for journalists themselves. 
Firstly, of course, there’s the explosion in the number of talented people writing online. Where by “writing” I mean the full panoply of skills in demand these days. (It’s worth singling out two skills in particular. First, the creation of moving images, be they two-second GIFs or two-hour immersive features; and second, the ability to find and deftly remix material which was originally created by somebody else.) 
It’s easy enough to understand the basic mechanics of supply and demand: as the supply of such people has risen, their price has fallen.
In that same article he says "a couple of years ago I harbored hopes that things might improve," but it was in fact just last April that he said:

Wonkery is like the diamond stores on New York’s 47th Street: Each one makes money not despite the nearby competition, but because of it. Klein and Silver and Leonhardt are constantly congratulating each others’ new hires and witty insights on Twitter, and the congratulations are real: Supply creates its own demand, which creates more supply, and so on, in a virtuous cycle.

I will never get tired of pointing out the super dense stupidity concentrated in that statement.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Peak Wonk

Remember when superstar journalists launching their own news sites were going to be a thing? And then the hype didn't quite match expectations.

Here we have the Washington Post talking about Why Internet Journalists Don't Organize:

"Web writing has become commoditized. Not only are there hordes of recent graduates who would gladly fill holes on a masthead, new media organizations don’t necessarily need large newsrooms of reporters; cheap freelancers and Web editors to repackage other articles are abundant. [....] 
'With an abundance of content, and content producers, many of whom are totally happy to give their stuff for free for the ephemeral compensation known as exposure, the whole marketplace has been upended,' says Alan Mutter, a veteran media consultant based in Silicon Valley. Accordingly, wages for reporters have grown at less than half the pace of pay in other fields."
And here we have Felix Salmon living in an alternate universe:

"Wonkery is like the diamond stores on New York’s 47th Street: Each one makes money not despite the nearby competition, but because of it. Klein and Silver and Leonhardt are constantly congratulating each others’ new hires and witty insights on Twitter, and the congratulations are real: Supply creates its own demand, which creates more supply, and so on, in a virtuous cycle. 
The Wonk Bubble is the best kind of cluster, a bit like Silicon Valley for technology, Boston for universities or Savile Row for suitmakers. As the best in the world cluster together, they up the game of all the players and help to create whole new economies."

They're helping to create whole new economies where nobody gets paid very much, I guess.