Another great one via Yellowdog Granny!
NPR asks a question I am also asked from time to time: Is Writing Online Without Pay Worth It? I usually answer, well, is listening to music worth it? Is TV worth it? Are movies worth it? Is any form of entertainment "worth it"? Obviously, the intrinsic "worth" of these activities depends on who you are and what you enjoy. And let's face it, if one enjoys writing, we are basically entertaining ourselves by blogging. It's very nice to have readers and to feel appreciated, but many of us would do it even if we didn't have any (and have gone for long periods with negligible numbers of readers/feedback).
My late mother, a singer, used to tell me that the world was filled with good singers and good writers, so get used to it. She was right, and I have.
But the NPR piece pointedly reminds us who benefits from our work, for whatever reasons we decide to do it (hint: not us):
Last week, AOL agreed to buy The Huffington Post for $315 million. The sale will undoubtedly make some people rich.Aye, that's kinda brutal.
But David Carr, the media columnist for The New York Times, posed this observation in his column on Monday: "The funny thing about all these frothy millions and billions piling up? Most of the value was created by people working free."
Thousands of unpaid writers' work fills the Internet — on websites and social networking platforms.
"As we all twitter away and type away and update our Facebooks, we're creating the coal that sort of fires this oven," Carr tells NPR host Renee Montagne. "And they continue to own the land."
What to do?
Sree Sreenivasan tells Renee Montagne of NPR that the important thing in the ongoing media-upheaval is to "stand out":
In a very crowded Internet space where there's so many voices, I think the voices that have some specific point of view, as well as, you know, a reputation that they've built online or elsewhere are going to stand out. And this is - can be a development seen for better or for worse, but that's the situation. So you're seeing that the importance of being able to standout among many, many voices, commentary is one way to go.I suppose so, but as many of you already realize (since you are on the net reading blogs, and you are here reading mine)--any fool can "stand out"--and some online folks have sold their souls to "stand out" as surely as any rock star ever did. Bloggers traffic in eyeball-time and numbers of page-views/hits, and if an ugly brawl or something dirty brings the traffic? Well, who cares, it's still traffic and it still translates into popularity.
My question is, who is going to do the "real" journalism? Meaning, who will "pound the pavement" and do all that is necessary (and time-consuming) to bring us FACTS and news stories from "on the scene"? Many bloggers try hard and perform splendidly, but simply don't have the resources and/or connections to follow stories around as a paid journalist can.
And why IS mainstream journalism on the skids? What is it about commentary that is so intoxicating to us, vs those boring old 'facts'? Are 'facts' in jeopardy, as a result?
Is it going to be harder and harder to find out what is REALLY going on? Will there be more and more words (from bloggers and TV-busybodies) spilled over fewer and fewer available facts?
What do you think?