Can Writers Learn from Gawker Media?

By Jason Boog Comment

gaby.jpgOn the Internets, writers are now measured by page-views and followers–statistics that some fear will corrupt our literary integrity. At the Copyright Clearance Center’s On Copyright conference yesterday, Gawker Media’s COO of finance, legal, operations & business development Gaby Darbyshire directly addressed those fears.

Darbyshire (pictured, via) explained a controversial policy shift at Gawker: “When we started paying our writers by the page-view (bonuses based on page-views), everybody started talking about how there would be a race to the bottom–how we’d be writing about nothing except Paris Hilton sex tapes. The absolute opposite has occurred, because at the end of the day, you don’t get a sustained growth in audience [and] in the success of your content, without producing quality.”

She concluded: “What our writers discovered–even though they were scared to start with (they were like, ‘oh my god, we have to find big scoop-y stories)–was that the diligently researched feature type good stuff that’s original and new; that’s what works. That’s what they are incentivized to produce, and we can measure exactly what is successful and what is not–which newspapers, by the way, never could, because you don’t know who is throwing away what section of the paper.”

What do you think? Will page-views corrupt or inspire 21st Century authors?