The AP Will Cover a Local Speller –for a Fee

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The Associated Press is teaming up with an outfit called eByline to offer paid editorial.  Their email said that they could offer me 200 words about a local speller who is participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee for $100. It’s going to be featured on the AP Wire, so for a payment, they would insert the customized content about someone from around here. They also have packages that would publish a 600-word feature story about a local speller for $350. For $600 they would add a 1-minute video to their coverage package.  This is the state of content these days….it’s not pretty.

Yesterday I had an interesting exchange with a newspaper publisher.  We were discussing a column I contribute to a magazine they publish, and after I agreed to submit more stories for no money, he changed tack at the bottom of the email. “I’m going to Alaska next month. Are you interested in a story? Do you pay?”

I quickly came back with my rejoinder. I’ll pay you the same as you pay me.  He seemed fine with my answer. Then I thought about the value of content and how it’s badly it has deteriorated over the years. I used to sell travel articles to a local paper, they paid us $80 and we’d split the fee with the writer.  Today, I ask them if they’ll use my content for free.  Just like this blog, that I have been writing for the past nine years.  It’s been a labor of love, mostly because nobody pays you to blog.

But I took advantage of my relationship with the paper and offered them my blog for free too. I am not unhappy with the result of this proposition.  I have a local platform that more people recognize, and I get a daily link to our website in my blog bio.  For the magazine, I like the discipline of having to write for print.  Just 250 words or so, a little taste of a place that I visited. It gives me a nice printed copy of a magazine to share with my hosts.

Blogging has given me the ability to write quickly and effectively. I can easily write the stories and spinning off a version for the magazine is not a lot of work. There isn’t a lot anyone can do about it…the solution it seems is to make it work for you and have something worth promoting.