Digiday published a puff piece titled, “Confessions of a journalist moonlighting as a native ad writer: ‘I’m not proud’”—an interview with an alleged “veteran freelance writer who has written for top women’s magazines and other national publications.”
Slaving on native advertising is such an angst-ridden struggle for the writer. When asked why she/he is doing it, the suffering scribe replied, “It would be called debt. I’m getting $500 a day. It was the same as a [journalism] job I had a couple years ago. And the reality is, it’s a whole lot easier. I’m doing a job, and I’m not dealing directly with the client. I feel like I’m writing in a vacuum.” Um, $500 per day sounds like a pretty sweet deal for even a “veteran”—especially when there are plenty of entry-level writers who would do the job for less. What’s more, a millennial worker would probably not do much worse than the “veteran” in terms of content quality. It is native advertising, after all, which the “veteran” called “the lowest common denominator” of assignments.
When asked why she/he doesn’t want byline credit on native advertising, the “veteran” remarked, “Because it’s not work I’m proud of. It’s not anything remotely interesting. But I was at [a major news organization] and didn’t put my name on many stories. If I were writing stories for dumb women’s magazines, I wouldn’t want my name on many stories, either.” Gee, perhaps the long-time freelancer is a tad burned out and disillusioned with her/his career. Native advertising sounds like the perfect way to slide along and pay the bills for this hack.
Another peculiar statement from the “veteran” read, “I’m getting too old to make a living from my body, so I’ve got to make a living from my pen!” Is she/he a prostitute on the side? And is she/he still actually writing with a pen?
In reference to the state of freelancing, the “veteran” whined, “I despise it. It’s not worth my energy. They’re paying much less money for stupid stories. The Daily Beast is paying $300 for an article. It’s offensive. That’s what the Internet has done.” Ah, yes, the evil World Wide Web has squashed all the opportunities for old school writers who pine for the days of print. Sounds as if the “veteran” must accelerate the efforts on her/his blockbuster screenplay or Great American Novel pronto. Do the rest of society a favor and help a 20-something escape their Starbucks barista gig to take over the terrible $500-a-day purgatory of native advertising.