Sunday, May 23, 2010

SF Chronicle and Houston Chronicle to Use Demand Studios Content

I cringed a little when I read about the latest publisher to contract with a content mill. I  had read about Yahoo! buying Associated Content and USA Today (Gannett) and other newspaper chains already using the bargain-basement Demand Studios -- but once it hit my marketplace, it suddenly seemed very real.

From Erik Sherman's story and the interesting part of the leaked Demand Studios e-mail:

We have entered into a partnership with Hearst Newspapers to produce articles for two of their premium publications, San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle. Specifically, we are creating articles and videos for the Real Estate section of and the Small Business section of

We’re currently accepting applications for writers and editors. These articles come at a higher fee and your byline will be featured on these premium publications. Qualified applicants will not only be topical experts in their field, but also have relevant writing or editing experience in the subject. To apply, please email [email address omitted] with the subject line “Real Estate” or “Small Business.” Include a summary of your experience and attach any relevant clips. All interested CEs, please cc your copy chief with your application, and unfortunately we cannot consider your application if you have not yet had a review.

We are not currently able to disclose the partners publically and we ask that you keep their names confidential until further notice.

(I have to point out that "publicly" is spelled incorrectly.) Wasn't good writing and reporting what drew readers to newspapers? Newspaper publishers killed that possibility by cutting staff rather than offering more when everyone around them gave less. Their product was thus rendered weaker and more irrelevant in a recession which only hastened its demise.

Now some managers and corporations have decided that it isn't about quality content at all. Instead, they seem to be saying, readers are actually more attracted to lackluster writing and paying more for less.  

No comments: