Saturday, October 16, 2010

Is Crowdsourced Content the New Journalism?

I don't have much time to go into this, because it makes me physically sick thinking about it, but if professional writers are going to keep getting paid for writing, they will have to do better than to be crowd-sourced and then whine about it.

There's conversations about the 'future of journalism' brewing every which way I turn, but I don't have time to participate in any of them or add to the chorus because I am too busy creating content, a community based around the said content, and a sponsorship pipeline of advertising to support the existence of the content.

Publisher sites like Yahoo and others rely on page hits and views. In the lower thousands, page hits barely matter, because the CPM (cost per thousand) is so low. However, these Men and Women in Suits have figured out that targeted advertising is worth lots more per thousand, so what they're doing is seeing how much local news they can aggregate (without actually paying for said news from which they derive their ad dollars) and then selling expensive targeted advertising off of the page hits to these local stories.

So, tell me again why all of the crusty old journalists with patches on the elbows and speaking of "journalistic integrity" are still defending traditional media and publisher sites? Or, at least the ones who still have jobs are doing the defending of their employer, while they still have an employer.

I don't want to work for AOL, or Yahoo, or Patch, or be part of some site that others profit off of through aggregation! I want the Pipeline to be a low overheard, paperless tool for establishing weekly e-communication pipelines for neighborhood news, and where there is a 'direct pipeline' between ad dollars and content creators. We are essentially eliminating the ad sales people and Men and Women in Suits, putting that onus on the writer-publisher, and offering a solution to traditional print newspapers which are dying because their organizational structures are too bloated and print and distribution is too expensive.

I don't want to be crowd-sourced by the aggregators who just look at hyperlocal as a way to make money and not build and strengthen communities. I want to keep on being part of my community and its people, and telling the stories that are true to me in hopes that they can be true to others. And, so far, so good.

It's just mid-month and I only host about 60% of our images on Photobucket, yet based on stats we are at 130,000 monthly image views, up from 69,000 a few months back. Our click through average (CTR) is 30%, with 12.9% being the industry average CTR for media e-newsletters. People are reading and enjoying The Pipeline. And if I fall on my face and fail based on SHEER EXHAUSTION, it will not be my loss, but a loss for all of the shops I've been writing about, and the readers who will have no pipeline to read because I'm busy helping the crowd-sourcers instead of the content creators, because they offer salaries and I'm tired of figuring out how to create mine and stay afloat. But why do I feel like this won't happen? As Pat says, Fist Raised!

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