Horror of Five Things About Media and Technology Right Now

(This is Part 8 in a never-ending series of posts on media and technology that for some reason I’ve started to name after classic monster movies. Here’s part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, and part 7.)

1. A couple of years ago the editor of Medium wanted to know if I would like to repost an article from my site to Medium. Great! What’s the pay? Oh, we don’t pay, she said, but you’ll get exposure and it’s a nice writing platform!

Yeah. I’m too old to write for free. Besides, like the old joke says, people often die from exposure.

The sad thing is that Medium actually does pay some people. But you have to be a “name” writer, or at least have some sort of connection to someone at Medium (a lot of people don’t know that this is often how publishing works). I heard a story a few years ago that one somewhat well-known writer got paid $15,000 for one article she wrote for Medium. Imagine how many writers they could have paid with that.

I bring this up because I see that Bill Simmons is starting a new site called The Ringer, but instead of doing it on his own he’s partnering with Medium. I have no idea how this will work, paying writers-wise or advertising-wise, but since it’s a major deal I’m sure they’ll figure it out. For everyone else I suggest you keep your own site and not post everything you write to Medium (or Facebook or HuffPost). I’m also amazed that Medium is treated as if it’s groundbreaking or innovative. We’ve all been using blogging/publishing platforms like that since the 90’s. I guess the connection to Twitter makes it hip.

2. The Awl thinks that most longform is bad. Actually, all bad longform is bad. Good longform is good! (It’s called good writing, and good editing.) I’m old enough to remember when “longform writing” was just called “writing.” But that was before “writing” became “content.”

Maybe The Awl would be happy if we just got rid of words altogether and just communicate via texting abbreviations and emoji:

If anyone can decipher that, let me know in the comments.

3. I’d hate to be starting out as a freelancer these days, especially when you have people like the editor of the Huffington Post UK in charge. A quote:

If I was paying someone to write something because I want it to get advertising, that’s not a real authentic way of presenting copy. When somebody writes something for us, we know it’s real, we know they want to write it. It’s not been forced or paid for. I think that’s something to be proud of.

HuffPost bloggers don’t need to get paid (it would be nice but most just use it as a blogging platform), but this quote manages the neat trick of insulting both the bloggers who write for free and the paid journalists HuffPost has. Well done!

4. How much news is too much news? For WCVB, ABC’s Boston affiliate, there’s no such thing. They’ve added two more hours of news to their schedule every single day: a 4:30pm show, a 7pm show, and another hour at 10pm on their sister station, Me-TV. This is in addition to the news they have from 4:30am to 7am, at noon, at 5pm, at 6pm, network news at 6:30, and 11pm. Oh, and they’ve also added an hour-long newscast Sundays at 5pm. Math was never my strong suit but I’m going to say that all adds up to… “a lot.” (And I haven’t even included Good Morning, America and their overnight news that runs from 2:30am to 4am.)

That’s too much news, especially when you’re not a 24 hour news channel.

I was afraid the 10pm Me-TV newscast would also be run on Saturdays, which is when Svengoolie airs. And that’s exactly what they’re doing! Luckily, Svengoolie is moving to 11. You can’t imagine the rioting that would occur if the show had been replaced completely. Fans are serious about their Svengoolie. (Unfortunately Me-TV fans won’t be as lucky during the week: whatever was shown at 10 then isn’t being kicked out.)

5. I need a Twitter sponsor. Someone I can call when I’m tempted to check it or post to it, who can talk me out of it and keep me on the straight and narrow. Someone who can monitor my Twitter account and call to yell at me if I do post something.

Applications being accepted. I’ll supply the alcohol.

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