Tag Archives: tech-news

How Would You Spend Your Last Hour?

You have just been told that your life will end in sixty minutes. How do you spend that last hour? I can’t help but think about what it is that I would do if I knew I had only an hour left to live. Would I call everyone I love to say goodbye? Would I cuddle with my beloved pets? Would I take a relaxing soak in the Jacuzzi and let the Grim Reaper take me the way I came in to the world – naked and wet?

In reality, I think I’d do my best to leave my mark on the world in those final moments. I’d like to believe that I could come up with something profound to say – some type of important advice to leave behind. There are plenty of things floating around in my noggin that have never been said or written down. Taking that last hour to get them out there for others to learn from would be a pretty cool way to wind down life.

Then again – why the hell are we waiting until our final hour to share our brain with the masses? Why aren’t we out there doing it every hour of every day?

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Why are Digital Journalists Burning Out so Fast?

An article in the New York Times today discusses the early burnout rate of journalists who work exclusively in online media formats. As I read the article, I could completely understand and empathize with every word in front of me. This is a cutthroat world we live in online. There are thousands of news outlets, all of which have to compete with each other to publish first and publish better. There are more places to read your news online than there are stories to digest. This equates to a niche that is so competitive we are seeing high turnover rates at many big-name media sites.

Google search ranking is the name of the game. If your story doesn’t rank up at the top, it may never be digested by anyone at all. You have to not only crank out articles the very nanosecond they hit the wire… you also much be conscious at all times of keywords, SEO and branding. Gone are the days of writing interesting articles and intensive investigative pieces for the Sunday edition. The world we live in demands to know everything about everyone – and they want to know it now.

Many companies track how many page views each article published on their site receives. Authors are paid (and/or given bonuses) based on these numbers. At Gawker Media’s offices in Manhattan, a flat-screen television mounted on the wall displays the 10 most-viewed articles across all Gawker’s Web sites. The author’s last name, along with the number of page views that hour and over all are prominently shown in real time on the screen, which Gawker has named the “big board.”

While this is an interesting way to attempt to reward and motivate writers, many feel that it is more of a “wall of shame.” If your name doesn’t appear on the board at all times, then you are regarded as not being “up to par.” The stress that these companies are placing on their staff is astronomical. I’ve heard from many of you out there who want to write for a living. There is so much talent and enthusiasm inside of you all. The problem is, I also have seen too many fresh-faced young journalists end up burned out and cynical before the ink on their degree has fully dried.

What are your thoughts? How do you feel we can begin to slow things down to a reasonable pace? Is it possible?

Weekend Tech News Headlines

Saturday, 5 May 2007