I used to think that journalism was a dying trade, killed off by the Internet. But you know what? I've decided that the Interwebs need writers now more than ever. It's like a new era of pulp fiction.As I recently discovered, pulp fiction got its name from the extremely low-rent paper used to print the penny magazines and scandalous tabloid newspapers in the early part of the 20th century.
More importantly, the appetite for these publications was voracious and to fill each magazine required 65,000 words per issue. So if there were 150 or so of those mags printed weekly, biweekly, or monthly, the math would add up to over 195 million words needed each year just to keep the public happy. Know who used to feed that beast in the Depression? Ernest Hemingway.
Now take a spin around your favorite websites. Would you go back if they weren't updated regularly? Of course not. There's a new form of pulp fiction in town. It's a beast that continually needs to be fed, and it will take a lot more than 195 million words to keep this monster happy.
The only problem is, you get paid peanuts for online work. Because anyone with a keyboard and a blog is now seen as a serious journalist, writers are a dime a dozen. The value of the written word has been taken down to the lowest common denominator.
As the monster Internet keeps growing, my only hope is that better writing will still stand out, and that the best among the writers will be valued for their talent. After all, not every painter is a Picasso, and not every singer is a Cee Lo.
Meanwhile, I'll keep feeding the beast along with my fellow former journalists. Brother, can you spare a dime?