On Media - Or, Why Isn't There a Jezebel/Hairpin for WOC
Yesterday, I created an impromptu twitter chat on media. It started as a quick response to a query someone else asked and then grew into a conversation about the environment at large.
- The original tweet I spotted on @tressimchphd's feed asked about a Jezebel/Hairpin like feed for WOC.
- Anil and Tressie came up with the Root and the Grio - and while both those sites are black focused, they were both launched as news destinations. And with the Root, a particular politics focus. While almost all black publications mix news and lifestyle, you probably aren't going to serve the same audience. Meanwhile, publications like Clutch, Parlor, Madame Noir, etc get ignored yet again, even though they are the sites that are more in that vertical. I mentioned that, but also mentioned they do not have the same type of funding as a Jez or a Hairpin.
- Those are three "big ones" I can think of and they are focused on black women. I have not come across a lifestyle type mag for Latinas. Audrey Magazine is for Asian American women, but while their print offering was strong, a reorganization and digital reboot means they are once again searching for voice and audience. I also threw out Vibe Vixen, Vibe, The Fashion Bomb Daily, and Ebony, though those are less in that vein. Also, the "NYC/Prestigious" thing is a *HUGE* issue, but one I am not going to get to in this storify. But location influences perception of what is big and what is small - I don't think it's an accident that we can be anywhere online, but NYC is still the center of the media universe. For what it's worth, Racialicious is a DC/NYC/SD based editor staff, Clutch is headquartered in Atlanta, and Parlour Magazine's EIC is in California. But again, a whole other convo about regional bias...
- For more background - from 2009 - 2012, most of my main source of income was freelance writing, with a little bit of consulting blended in, and random other things (radio hosting, TV hosting, speaking). In 2012, I went to do the Knight Fellowship. In 2013, I've stopped freelancing and now work full time for Al Jazeera America. My consulting has been for Wikipedia, NPR, and Weber Shandwick. And I've attended literally dozens of conferences on this exact topic - summits and funding. I've judged the NewU journalists competition for start up funding and was a reader for one of the Knight News Challenges. I've got friends at almost every major foundation there is. So I've been trying to find an answer to this problem for the last 5 years. But clearly, this is too much to tweet.
- Wanted to do a piece, but never got around to pitching it, I should mention.
- This is becoming more and more common - outlets I used to write for at $300-$500 a piece are now offering $150 or less a piece to new contribs, because budgets are down. And with the devaluation of content more broadly, it's tough to get more than that these days. The R doesn't pay, but that's because we have no money. What young writers should watch out for is how funded a place is that is asking you to write for free. A lot of people don't have budget, but there are other ways to work with people. But I digress...
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- Latrice DavisI brought up Ezra Klein and Nate Silver because wherever they go, eyeballs -- and, by extension, dollars -- tend to follow. Whether we're talking about PERSONAL...I brought up Ezra Klein and Nate Silver because wherever they go, eyeballs -- and, by extension, dollars -- tend to follow. Whether we're talking about PERSONAL brands or PLATFORM brands, it always comes down to money -- something Clutch, Parloud, and Racialicious are lacking. (This article may be of interest to you: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2014/01/maybe-ezra-klein-and-jeff-bezos-are-both-right.html ) I don't claim to have a solution to this paradox, but I do believe we need to take note of what they're doing/have already done and try to replicate it as best we can.more2014-01-23T00:27:13.117Z
- Latrice DavisI know that money is tight for a lot of news organizations, but $150 or less for a piece is basically content farm pay -- especially for those who have years of...I know that money is tight for a lot of news organizations, but $150 or less for a piece is basically content farm pay -- especially for those who have years of experience and a body of work to show for it. (Hours of researching, interviewing, and rewriting add up FAST!) My skill set has value ... and even if I'm not asking for $2/word, that doesn't mean I should settle for 25¢/word. Furthermore, freelancers tend to be paid late IF AT ALL, which shows a lack of professionalism on the publication's part. I have ZERO patience for that sort of thing; if I can meet deadlines and complete assigments on time, I EXPECT to be paid on time. This brings me to your point about the business side of media in the context of serving the WOC audience.more2014-01-23T00:26:57.573Z
- Latrice DavisAs someone who once worked in journalism full-time, I appreciate your insights into this issue ... but I must point out a few things. I follow Madame Noire on...As someone who once worked in journalism full-time, I appreciate your insights into this issue ... but I must point out a few things. I follow Madame Noire on Twitter, but their business model is built around clicks -- which get annoying rather quickly (especially if you have a 10- to 15-page "listicle."). And while they have some original content, like "Ask a Very Smart Brotha" and "Mommy-In-Chief," the bulk of their website is aggregating material from other sources (similar to the Huffington Post). This brings me to another point: budgets.more2014-01-23T00:25:29.320Z