I understand why a professional journalist like Nate Thayer would be frustrated at being asked to work for “exposure” rather than work for pay, though I think it’s unprofessional to vent that frustration by publishing the e-mails and the name of the junior editor who made the request.
But behind this debate lurks an uncomfortable fact: The salaries of professional journalists are built upon our success in convincing experts of all kinds working for exposure rather than pay. Now those experts have found a way to work for exposure without going through professional journalists, creating a vast expansion in the quantity and quality of content editors can get for free.
This is a really interesting piece on the Washington Post’s Wonkblog by Ezra Klein.
There is a journalistic side to this issue, but there is also a fundamental management issue at hand. If you are a professional media manager, you “feed” information to news organs. That’s just how it works. I cannot tell you how many times something I have written has appeared in the newspaper — especially small market, understaffed newspapers, but not always — verbatim. Am I ticked because I did not get bylined? No. That’s my job. And I recognize that.
People on both sides of this particular equation need to be continually educated about where the elusive line in the sand is and what expectations are from the other side.
This is an important piece. Read it and think on it.
H/T to my good friend Bill Tyson, one of our finer media managers, who tweeted this link out. Follow him @BTysonPitchPerf. Follow we @markrblackmon.