Who knew the newspaper business was such a dramatic industry!?!?!?
Many who follow my blog are aware that I also write for The Washington Times Communities online. I have a column titled, “Living Inside Out Loud,” packaged under the Health and Science section. (See the link to the left?)
Today, I am sharing some news regarding the state of my column and the state of Communities in general that I think may look dire on the surface but is rather exciting considering the state of digital news outlets today:
The Washington Times (TWT) ended its partnership with The Washington Times Communities (Communities) editors and creators this week. In addition, the editor-in-chief of TWT informed Communities’ writers in an e-mail last night that stories written and submitted by Communities writers to TWT editors moving forward may or may not be published to the TWT site. Publication is at the discretion of TWT editors, not the former Communities editors with whom I have come to trust and respect. The EIC alluded to the possibility of having a revamped Communities section featured on TWT site sometime in February.
The explanation provided by TWT EIC was vague at best, leaving me wondering about my future and my column’s future. To be honest, I haven’t been writing prolifically for my column but had my sights set on changing that…remember? The news left me feeling a bit deflated.
But you may be asking, “What is the difference between TWT and Communities, anyhow?”
For several years, TWT has been providing a platform for independent, community writers called “The Washington Times Communities”. Communities is a separate entity from TWT. The Communities’ editors, Jacquie Kubin and Lisa Ruth, and the writers they vet, edit and mentor daily are not employees of TWT. With the revenue generated by Communities’ stories, TWT pays a small percentage (less than 40%) of revenue to Kubin who disbursed the dollars among herself, her editor and the hundreds of Communities’ writers that provided the content, the meat and potatoes of the Communities section.
Needless to say, TWT benefited greatly from this partnership and justly so. That’s capitalism. That’s how business is conducted, right?
The main benefit of this partnership to the writers and editors obviously was not to get rich from writing and publishing. Rather, the benefit was exposure, exposure of honest stories, quality writing and the potential to increase the credibility of each writer through their association with an established news source such as TWT.
Bottom line, being able to say you wrote for “The Washington Times” looks good in a writer’s portfolio and on their resume. And who doesn’t want an impressive resume!?
Historically, writers and journalists who have written for well-established news sources do garner immediate credibility and recognition. However, there is a shift occurring.
More and more interested readers seek stories written by community journalists that possess fresh and clean perspectives free of the influences of the bias of a particular news source. Readers want the full story. Readers want both sides and then another side of the same story. No longer do those interested in remaining informed rely solely on established news outlets to form their opinions and conclusions about current events and social commentary.
The Communities’ model, created and nurtured over the years by Kubin with high levels of support from Ruth, will live on. Not as “The Washington Times Communities” on TWT’s website, but as Communities Digital News (CDN) on its own platform and under its own site domain:
CDN will no longer have to share its revenue with a “parent” and will, instead, be able to provide a strong, independent platform for writers and an even stronger money-generating base.
To write well takes skill and passion. To continue writing well requires reward and motivation. Good writers deserve just compensation. (Call me bias!)
So although I have enjoyed the exposure and the credibility TWT’s has provided my portfolio and resume, I must remain faithful to the people who did the hard work to get my voice out there, Jacquie Kubin and Lisa Ruth, and who are offering me a chance to make some money for all of my efforts. Therefore, I have decided not to submit future stories to the editors at TWT. I choose to contribute to the CDN website moving forward.
I’d like to openly thank the EIC of TWT for his generous invitation to remain associated with TWT, but I must decline your offer.
And just as the EIC graciously wished the Communities’ creator luck in her future endeavors in his e-mail to Communities’ writers yesterday evening, I also wish TWT the best of luck with its future publication and distribution of news, locally and globally. (Besides, I have friends and family that continue working for TWT; I want TWT to succeed!)
I’ll surely continue reading TWT headlines and passing along TWT’s side of the story. My biggest hope is that my friends, family and blog followers/visitors will consider supporting me and the rest of the CDN family of writers from across the country by reading and sharing stories you discover and enjoy at http://www.commdiginews.com.