John is a journalist, much more than I am. Although I have read AP pieces coming over the wire back in the day, that clanking machine and it’s production was never integral to my writing life. I did read enough to agree with John that bland is a kind description, and if you think about it, that’s no surprise. Political correctness is only recent in name; many editors (certainly not all) all over the world have worked not to offend their readership. That’s another topic.
And John may be right when he says I believe that sort of generic writing was the beginning of the end for newspapers…
When I think about my own reading generic writing is my least favorite, even when I need it to learn something or to follow a set of instructions. I remember how quickly I tired of technical writing because it was so repetitive. Bland? Boring! Boring to read to, but any creativity made the end user’s life even more difficult.
A quick look at Demand Studios and their View Popular Article link brought me to a series on passports. Helpful if I want a passport, or need to research the process, but hardly interesting under any other circumstances. That series is over at ehow which means DS is placing articles there. I could also write for ehow directly.
I’m not at all sure I agree with John when he says and I think that it can only have limited success on the Internet.
I suppose it depends on his, mine or your definition of success. Unlike newspapers, the ‘net has the potential of unlimited archives; an article written about passports today could last for a thousand years. Is that success? Probably only if it can be found and is still accurate. More likely the article will exist, but become useless in a decade or less. Which means there will be room for other writers to write about passports over time.
There’s a huge market for bland writing. Demand and the others seem to be helping fulfill the need, at least today. Like the local weekly newspaper, and like AP of yore, these article mills provide an entry point for writers. Most who start there will never go beyond. They will discover they don’t like writing for a living nearly as much as they thought they would. Or they will realize how much effort is required to improve their skill. Or they will discover they’d rather be astronauts or firemen or whatever.
No one who starts at Demand or Associated Content or Triond or ehow wherever need feel ashamed because they are not commanding big bucks. Each has its place, at least right now. Some may last, other models will surely appear.
I’m old enough to remember when we’d never even thought of something like the ‘net, and here we are. I wonder what’s next?
Image from http://www.sxc.hu