OLD Media Moves

Confessions of a former tech journalist

March 20, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

Bekah Grant, who was a technology reporter for VentureBeat, writes about her job on Medium.com.

Grant writes, “I wrote an average of 5 posts a day, churning out nearly 1,740 articles over the course of 20 months. That is, by all objective standards, insane.

“Busy days were a blur of furious typing, rushed calls, and ignoring everything that wasn’t news (like food and water). There would be days with 20 funding announcements, on top of everything else we covered. VB writers could have a post up in 15 minutes if the situation demanded. Online publishing is a horse race and speed is critical.

“When a story breaks, you could take a couple hours to do research, call to sources, and write a contextualized, edited piece — but by that time, 5 of your competitors will have posted on the story. You will look slow and readers will have moved onto the next thing. The reality is that original reporting and careful editing fall by the wayside in the desire to be fast.

“Volume is also key. Most of the tech news sites post something at least once an hour and throughout the night, even when there isn’t news. Fresh content keeps people coming back to the site again and again, regardless of its quality.

“The need for speed and volume is primary driven by one thing — pageviews. Pageviews are what sell advertisements, and advertisements are what keep most online publications running — particularly the small independent ones. Are they a good barometer for quality? No, but the reality of online journalism is that you need pageviews to survive.”

Read more here.

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