I read an article over at Duct Tape Marketing, “Will Social and Journalism Ever Work Together?” As I first began to read I scoffed at the idea because I see blogs on almost every major newspaper’s site, from NY Times to Wall Street Journal. As I read through the next paragraph I began to understand the disconnect between management and journalist. A lot of the writing lacked passion. In most cases it was probably because of the support systems that these writers need, but aren’t given.
“Some of this is due to a lack of information in an “old school” mindset, but a great deal of it is due to the fact that journalists are being asked to embrace these new tools (without a raise in pay) and do so under the umbrella of the paper’s CPM ad model. In other words, go blog, we won’t give you the tools or support to actually do it well, we won’t give you a reason to have a voice and enthusiasm for building a conversation, and, by the way, here’s your page view quota.”
- John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing
Check out full article here.
Being able to work happy is so much more than doing what we love. It’s also about having the right support in place. Management knows that they have journalists in a spot where they want the opportunity to influence people with their words. The management doesn’t have to pay them as much as they are really worth because the journalists have a chance to do something they enjoy. I’m fine with that because the journalists chose that occupation, not for the money, but for the type of work. If the market doesn’t demand that they get paid more then so be it. That being said, if they do have more work on top of their regular work then they should be compensated or management will end up with work that isn’t up to its readers' standards. The readers aren’t going to keep coming back. They’ll go to a source that truly cares about its topic. There are plenty of other options.
What I really get upset about is the lack of support that the journalists receive from management. They should be given the opportunity to take classes, extra pay for anything beyond their regular work, and bonuses for exceeding certain goals. If the writers feel like they are appreciated, they will put out better content. They will work happy because they see that management is trying to work with them.
They don’t have to be rewarded with monetary bonuses, but maybe company sports tickets or extra time off. It’s the little things that management can do to make up for their lack of support.
Journalists understand the game they are in, but this situation seems similar to the TV writers' strike because they want to be rewarded for the work that they do, even if it’s a small percentage of the actual take. This is my advice to all paper conglomerates – start helping your team work happy otherwise there will be a backlash.
This is one of the major reasons that newspapers are dying out. They used to have writers by the neck. Where else could they write? Now these great writers can go out and create a blog, making a successful business to support their lifestyle. Most writers don’t want to be bothered thought; they just want decent pay and the support that they need so they don’t have to worry about marketing, budgeting, and all those worries. They want to write. If newspapers give them support the writers will help make newspapers successful online.
What are your thoughts on major newspapers' blogs? Do you read them or go to smaller blogs for your topic of choice?