Wick Communications

Putting a price on it

In journalism on October 22, 2010 at 8:13 am

How much is this post worth? Well, clearly not much. Nor is much true journalism, if you ask Gawker Media owner Nick Denton.

You have probably noticed that the Internet has been abuzz with the story that NFL quarterback Brett Favre may have gone public with his privates. The rumor has it that he sent delicate pictures of himself to a New York Jets’ employee. I have no idea whether he did that, and really don’t care.

The curious thing to me is that Gawker appears to have paid more for the pictures than it has ever paid for anything before. And Denton sent a memo suggesting that the bounty for stories is tied to specific visitor numbers. It’s an obvious metric to use. After all, he sells advertising based on impressions… Makes sense, right?

I’ll tell you why this is a bad way to determine the value of news. Heck, you already know. If that’s the way you value journalism, you’ll eventually just run a porn site. Real news, about the people in your community, about taxes and health care and veterans’ benefits and a million other mundane things, will never generate the online traffic you can expect from pictures of naked quarterbacks. I guess it depends on your definition of “value.”

Clay

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