Could Journalism Crumble under Content Farms Success?

Are “content farms” killing journalism? That’s the belief of Jason Fry, a blogger and former WSJ.com writer. It’s nothing new for him, back in December he compared writing for a content farm, like AOL’s Seed.com or Yahoo’s Associated Content, to working for a Chinese factory (fun).
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But unlike traditional media outlets, these content farms are on the rise. In an interview with the Wrap, Fry expanded on his stance that these content factories while they make money, does not mean they’re the best platform for providing quality reporting.

“Does it legitimize their business models? Sure. But I don’t think those were in doubt,” Fry said in an interview. “Does it give them validity? That depends on how you define validity. If validity is defined as ‘efficiently creating content that you can use to attract eyeballs and sell ads against,’ then sure. Heck, they’re geniuses at that. If validity is defined as ‘creating content that’s consistently memorable and effective in illuminating something for readers,’ I have my doubts.”

But that doesn’t mean there’s not room for quality journalism just because these factories exist. There are other places freelancers and full-time job seekers can go. So while Fry may bash the content coming from these farms, it doesn’t mean it’s killing all of journalism.

However, the point that could hurt is the loss in freelancer pay. If these farms just need content, they won’t pay much for a single story. So if freelancers want to make a living, they’ll have to write, and write a lot. But, for good and bad, I guess it doesn’t have to be well written.

Photo by: Johan Brook