Exciting opportunities in online journalism – apparently

With so many editorial redundancies in the news at the moment the market may well soon be awash with talented writers touting their skills. Doesn’t bode well for the rest of us, does it? Like many people out there I have handy emails that come in from time to time when job ads meet the criteria I plugged in to some online form yonks ago. On the one hand I’m heartened at how often they come in. On the other they do make me feel so very tired.

It’s always: ‘exciting opportunity exists for an experienced’ or ‘got a way with words and a passion for B2B marketing?’. I’ve got some experience but usually not in what they want. Do I have a way with words, maybe. But these ads stretch just how far my ‘passion’ can realistically reach.

They’re always looking for ‘a hardworking and enthusiastic journalist to join the team’ where ‘you’ll be a Copywriter, but the role is much broader than that’. I’m probably cynical, who am I kidding I am cynical, but I read these sorts of ads as ‘we want you to work really hard and to not complain about whatever we throw at you, even if it’s nothing like what we first described cause we didn’t know what we were doing. And we’re not going to mention the money because it won’t be much’.

But it is strange how often ‘Australia’s fastest-growing and most innovative online’ publishers’ who are ‘global leaders in connecting companies’ are on the hunt for’…’brilliant writing skills to develop content for world’s best companies’. They need web editors who can ‘take our digital platforms to the next level’. They’re innovative and forward thinking organisations that’re ‘busy’ and ‘independent’ with an ‘ever expanding Online team’.

Haven’t these people heard that publishing is dead? That newspapers are on the ropes, that no one can make any money out of the internet?

As publishers become cut-throat, agenda driven companies – companies are trying to become publishers – what’s with that? Is it good or cause for concern?

Everyone needs content. Even plumbing companies need new interesting content from time to time and most companies haven’t got a clue as to how to do it.

Another problem is unrealistic expectations, like insurance companies that want to be your friend on facebook. There’s a lot of confusion around about what companies on the web ‘should’ be. Not every website can realistically be a publisher, nor should it try to be, but it seems a lot of companies think they do.

Why? Because they don’t know how to be heard. We look at the traditional media and the way the number of outlets have expanded but the media hasn’t been talking about how broadly that same phenomenon has affected every industry, every business.

I expect we’ll continue to see jobs out there for writers in the corporate sector for some time, but the gap between knowing how to write, the sort of strategies that might actually work for a company and the ideas that the companies themselves have about how they want to go about things are likely to become more and more divergent. At least in the near future.

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