Each week, Evan Peterson rounds up stories from across the Web that scribes of all stripes should check out.
Part of writing is getting paid to do it. How that happens is changing in some corners of the Internet. Also, write what you know, and don’t pay attention to the writing robots (yet).
Paid by click:
Venture capital money is pouring into online news
. Now we’re getting a better idea about how some of that money is being spent. More and more, digital news sites are paying writers by the number of clicks and views they get.
Though the linked article focuses on the idea of journalists’ getting paid this way, what we’re really talking about is all forms of content. After all, what’s likely to get more views: “63 Disney Movie Facts You Should Know
” or an investigative piece on doctors promoting drug companies
In other words, whether you consider this the end of journalism may rest upon your definition of journalism.
As David Carr puts it:
Depending on your perspective, the trend could be a long overdue embrace of the realities of the publishing landscape, or one more step down the road to perdition.
Write what you know?:
Though the advice to “write what you know” is most often associated with fiction, it certainly applies to journalism, advertising, and other forms.
After all, we want to be good at what we do, and it’s certainly easier to be good if you know what you’re writing about, but not every writer agrees with the recommendation.
[RELATED: Mark Ragan and Jim Ylisela present advanced writing and editing tips for corporate communicators. Join them in NYC, Chicago, Washington D.C., or Denver!]
The New York Times Sunday Book Review
saw enough division among writers to ask two of them to share their thoughts on the subject. Novelist Mohsin Hamid raises a good point for the counterargument. If writing what you know is always good advice, how do you explain science fiction:
It may be that the DNA of fiction is, like our own DNA, a double helix, a two-stranded beast. One strand is born of what writers have experienced. The other is born of what writers wish to experience, of the impulse to write in order to know.
Robot journalists will be a while:
Any writers worrying about whether an algorithm will soon take their job can rest easy. As Digiday
points out, the technology is still confined to producing brief reports about data-soaked topics such as financial reports and sports recaps.
In addition, an approaching robot writing army might not be all bad. Writers would no longer have to spend time sorting through data and could focus instead on things requiring a beginning, middle, and end.
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.