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white noise

by Brian Clarey

News and views from inside the media bubble

OUR INDUSTRY IN CRISIS

The newest outrage among grizzled, dug-in journalists — as evidenced by a slew of media coverage in the past two weeks — is the content farm: big companies like Examiner.com and Demand Media who hire new and unemployed journalists to churn out stories, sometimes dozens a week, based on whatever people are searching the web for. And the outrage comes not from the poor quality of the work, which seems to be almost universal, and not from the subject matter of the stories themselves, which are decided upon by algorithms. No, most journos seem to be upset that some of these hacks are pulling in serious money. Take the case of Jodi Jill, a formerly homeless writer for Examiner.com profiled in this week’s AdvertisingAge magazine who claims to have made almost $100,000 in the last year writing dispatches about celebrities she sees in coffee shops and on the street in her home town of Los Angeles. “I’d see people like Miley Cyrus just being herself,” she told AdAge. “And you start to learn these interesting little facts that aren’t covered in the media — not exploitation — but things that other folks would be interested in. So I wrote about that. And it turned into something.” She went on to say she posts between 100 and 130 articles a week, and the magazine calculated she makes about $15 per piece, most of which seem to be about the television show “Dancing With the Stars” and seem to be written by a child.

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