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writing

How Should Publishers Assign Value to Writers?

SIAmong all the highly complicated questions media companies are grappling with, Time Inc. is still in a seriously unique transitional period. But when Gawker reported that the publisher — more specifically, Sports Illustrated magazine — scores its editorial writers based on how much they benefit the respective magazine’s advertiser relationships, it was a bit hard for me to feel sorry for them.

To be fair, that’s not the only thing they’re applying a numerical value to. “Quality of Writing,” “Impact of Stories/Newsworthiness,” “Productivity/Tenacity,” “Audience/Traffic,” “Video,” “Social” and “Enthusiasm/Approach to Work” are all categories that appear on the writers’ scorecards. But “Produces content that [is] beneficial to advertiser relationship” is still there.

Wrote Gawker watchdog reporter Hamilton Nolan:

“(Time Inc. provided this document to the Newspaper Guild, which represents some of their employees, and the union provided it to us.)  These editorial employees were all ranked in this way, with their scores ranging from 2 to 10.”

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The News, in 100 Words or Less

abridgemeUh, oh, the sky is falling.

This month, AbridgeME.com launched as the first user-generated summation tool for news articles. Weird timing, right? At a moment when everyone is dedicated to  providing stacks of digital flashcards and explainers for the news, founder Eric Rems wants to cut to the chase.

His reasoning? Everyone explains and comments — just look at your Twitter feed right now and count the links to opinions on the news — and he wants to provide readers with fact based summaries of the news. This way, you can start to delve into the topic with the facts and only the facts. Then you can create your reading adventure across the web and decide for yourself as you dig in rather than start with the editorial and have them choose sides for you.  Read more

ClearVoice Measures and Scores Writers’ Social Influence: How Do You Rank?

imageAnalytics are either your best friend or your worst enemy. And now, there’s a platform to not only track how your work is being shared, but will give you a score. I hate to compare, but ClearVoice, launched in June, is basically a Klout for digital journalists. Anita Malik, Vice President of Content Operations for ClearVoice, says:

There was nothing out there to score content creators and look at what authorship was doing out there in the marketplace and going beyond Google authorship to give brands and publishers a real view of what writers are able to offer in levels of expertise, who’s improving in what area, and who will give them a good voice for their audience.

It works like this: you do a search for your name and the platform pulls up all the indexed sites that you’ve posted on. You claim your work, create a profile, and voila. You have a ClearVoice score. The hope is that you can use that to coerce and editor into paying you more, find more tailored gigs if you’re a freelancer, or just brag to the guy in the next cube that you rule. It’s really up to you how you use it.  Read more

Freelance Journos: Would You Do A Little Content Marketing?

CONTENTRUNNER LOGOThe one thing every journalist knows (apart from how to get a source to return a call just before a deadline) is that we also have to be experts in something besides getting a good story. Business news. Sports. Tech. National security.

That’s why Content Runner’s new “Offerings” feature caught my eye. Content Runner specializes in matching writers up with people who need content. Yes, when I hear “content marketing,” I cringe a little bit, too. It can feel like making a deal with the devil. Unless that devil is paying you some extra cash. There’s no reason why working journos — especially freelancers — shouldn’t be able to make a little on the side.

It’s not just pennies per word either. Co-founder Chad Fisher explained to me that when they launched seven months ago, they attracted a lot of “users” looking for writers, but paying just pennies. “It was a race to the bottom, price wise. Read more

Seattle Times Columnist Writes Everything By Hand For Two Days

Monica Guzman wrote everything by hand for two days and photographed each piece of writing.

Monica Guzman wrote everything by hand for two days and photographed each piece of writing.

If you haven’t heard of Seattle Times columnist Monica Guzman‘s crazy experiment yet, I’m here to tell you that it’s more important than it may initially seem.

Guzman got to thinking about how much more “writing” humans do than ever before, and especially journalists, what with tweets and Facebook posts to write, reader comments to which to respond, stories, note-taking, transcribing and of course, the dreaded email.

“I wanted to get a more tactile feel for my share of this digital mother lode. So last week, I did something crazy. I wrote everything by hand,” she wrote (or typed?) for the Times.

She says she didn’t do it because she loves writing cramps and cursive.

“I did it to hack my brain. To make it slow down and notice the flurry of digital mutterings it writes and sends so easily, they barely register as mutterings at all.”

Read more

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