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Press trip contracts: Is this a new normal?

Press trips always give me plenty of professional dynamics to think about.

For example, I’ve been on trips and wondered how writers who blog for a site with an Alexa rank of 3 million (seriously, I’m not making that number up) are perceived by PR folks as a worthy investment.

I’ve wondered whether PR reps actually perform any due diligence on the writers. Do they write for the publications they claim to write for? Do they write about the subjects they claim to be experts about? And so on.

I’ve wondered why some print magazine editors reject articles from freelancers who’ve gone on press trips (which is the only way some writers can fund travel at all), claiming that press trips compromise integrity, when they themselves happily go on junkets and write about them, not disclosing that the trips were underwritten by a tourism board (and, likely, an advertiser).

And so on.

I’ve actually started discussing these questions with PR professionals with whom I have good relationships because I’m genuinely curious to know the answers.

But my most recent press trip raised a whole new set of questions, including this one: Is a press trip contract likely to become standard operating procedure?

The contract I was sent actually made loads of sense. Public relations firms and tourism boards invest thousands of dollars in each writer who goes on a trip, and they often are at pains to figure out precisely how to measure the return on their investment. For example, are total page views for online platforms or circulation for a print magazine adequate measures for determining whether a writer was “worth” the expense of the press trip? Is it possible to even measure “conversion,” that is, whether readers actually take action and book a trip after reading a piece? And the most basic of questions: What’s the goal in terms of tangible, quantitative outcomes for each trip?

So as I read over the contract, I was neither outraged nor surprised. Finally, a PR firm had found a way to hold writers to some degree of accountability for their participation on a trip. What’s key to point out is that they did so in a way that wasn’t compromising the writer’s integrity or professional ethics. They weren’t compelling the writer to commit to writing about a certain place or experience in any particular way; they were simply asking the writer to confirm that he/she had (1) committed to go on the trip; (2) was doing so with a letter of assignment from one or more specific publications; (3) would reimburse the tourism board and PR firm for its investments if the writer didn’t actually go on the trip; and (4) would follow up by sending in copies of published work upon its release.

I’m curious to hear what other writers and PR professionals think about a press trip contract. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

 

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38 responses »

  1. I’ve been on dozens of press trips and never heard of such a thing! As I have a no-assignment-in-advance policy, I would never sign. I’ve been on press trips that were total bombs–or not at all what they say they’re going to be–and being under contract to write about such a trip or destination seems simply unethical. That’s when you get into all those arguments about whether or not writers can stay subjective if someone else is footing the bill. And what magazine is going to give such precious and limited page space to a writer’s BAD experience? The answer: none.

    Reply
  2. That said, I HAVE signed contracts that say I would pay for my airfare were I to bail before the trip, which is understandable. I have, do and will sign such contracts, as those are only fair. It’s the “must have an assignment” bit I would never go for. What credible publications even give letters of assignment anymore? I’ve never had a one do so.

    Reply
    • Kristin-

      My sense, after actually being on the trip, was that the financial investment of the tourism board and PR firm was what they were most concerned about. You raise a good point about letters of assignment; they’re not always easy (or ever easy, really) for a freelancer to produce. Very few editors are going to commit to publishing an article on spec. So then they take the trips themselves, I suppose. 🙂

      Reply
  3. What about the other way around? I have had at least two companies call trips off at the very last min. After I have cancelled work for that two-week period, can I get the PR company to sign a contract to cover my lost earnings? And the fee i was due to get for the article?

    The risk goes both ways.

    I do sympathise with the PR side, of course, as I am sure there are lots of flaky people out there who do let them down, but I don’t think responsible freelancers should be penalised.

    Should a PR person look into whether the writer actually writes for who they say they write for? Yes, absolutely. It would be crazy not to. Same goes for the readership stats.

    I have occasionally had to provide ‘proof of assignment’ as a writer and write one as an editor. Bit of a pain, but I’m happy to do it as I understand the reasons why. This letter is not a guarantee of coverage though. The editor will want to publish the piece (or everyone’s time is wasted), but they have to reserve the right not to.

    I agree with what Camels and Chocolate says about the ethics. When we find ourselves signing something to say we legally guarantee coverage on something, we are in a really awful position and it’s a terrible sign for the profession.

    I have never had to sign something saying I would cover any costs. I couldn’t do it. If a corporate worker had to pull out of a business trip, would they have to pay for the flight? No. We are travelling in a professional capacity too.

    Sorry, I got carried away in my response here! You struck a nerve. Great post. Gave me real food for thought.

    Reply
    • Vicky-

      No need to apologize- you make great points, as did Kristin of Camels and Chocolate.

      I wrote this thinking only about my own press trip experiences, which have been positive, so nothing within my own frame of reference led me to consider how these contractual terms might be problematic. This is why I love readers’ comments when offered in the spirit that yours are.

      The bottom line, I think (after reading and thinking about your comment and Kristin’s comment), is that PR firms and writers need to do a much better job of communicating with one another about the obligations, limitations, ethics, and desired outcomes that constrain each of us. For the particular firm that sponsored the trip I was writing about here, I genuinely felt (and still feel, after the trip) that they wanted to go out of their way to work with writers and would accommodate reasonable requests, even about the contractual terms. I also feel like the contract was a genuine, good faith effort to try to protect their own assets and those of their client, and to produce some tangible, quantitative ROI measures. I’d love to know how other PR firms are measuring these issues.

      Reply
  4. I’ve only been on a couple press trips, but I signed a contract like the one you mentioned. It makes sense, and as long as they don’t tell me to tweet a certain number of times or whatever, I understand why a PR firm/tourism board would do that.

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  5. Some great points raised by all. I don’t take very many press trips, but have always had good experiences. I liked the points that Kristin made. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to be assured of an article’s spot in a publication for a writer. Unless it’s for a place I regularly write for, I can’t always guarantee placement and a publication date, however, I always have a couple different places in mine for publishing a story, so that I know if it gets rejected one places, I have a couple other places I can still get it published. However, like I said, I don’t take a whole lot of press trips. A lot of that is due to a couple reasons. One is that the few PR firms I’ve worked alongside, I’ve come to really enjoy and have developed long-term relationships with. Secondly, I’ve heard some bad stories from both writers and PR firms and am often hesitant to take on very many press trips. For example, you’re not likely to see me on like a group fam trip :). There certainly needs to be better communication though between both sides, whether contracts are used or not.

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  6. This was a hot topic at TBEX and many of the bloggers felt that a contract was completely out of line. I disagreed (and still do) wholeheartedly. Press trips are not offered because someone likes you, they are offered because they are a business investment on the part of the tourism board, property or location. If they cannot be assured that there will ANY MEASURABLE result from that, I see no reason for them to continue the practice (as someone mentioned, one of the only ways some travel writers/bloggers can AFFORD to travel).

    That being said, you can only control certain things and your PR contacts need to be made aware of this. Can you promise that you will cover it? Probably. Can you promise that you will cover it favorably? No can do. Can you ensure that your analytics and traffic reports across social media channels are up to date? SURE! Can you promise that you will tweet 20 times per day about their trip (and surely alienate your social base)? uh, nope.

    One of the undercurrents of this discussion is that bloggers can and should 1) determine whether they are a business or a hobbyist and 2) indicate that clearly to any person choosing to use their assembled media and influence to their advantage. If it’s a hobby, you have no business signing what is in essence, a transactional document, but you must tell them why.

    Great post and I think Kristin nailed the fact that this discussion will continue to stir and rumble. Probably until some products and guidelines are put into place and universally adhered to.

    Reply
    • Maren-

      Precisely- on all points.

      In my experience, PR people do understand that writers can’t make promises about published pieces, especially for print magazines. They understand that articles get killed by editors, and they even understand that maybe the trip they organized wasn’t really congruent with the topical interests you cover. I’ve never met a PR person who wasn’t willing to acknowledge–and accept, without a grudge–any of these factors.

      I really appreciate your last point- that bloggers, in particular, can and should determine whether they are a business or a hobbyist. PR firms are increasingly looking to work with bloggers because they perceive that the ROI of doing so is more measurable. That being said, bloggers need to up their game. They need to stop looking at press trips only as an opportunity for free travel, and look instead at press trips as an opportunity to travel, make new contacts, and provide value to their readers.

      Bottom line: As with any contract, you’re under no obligation to sign. You’re entirely able to go back to the person who established the contract to clarify or amend terms.

      Reply
    • “Probably until some products and guidelines are put into place and universally adhered to.”

      Exactly what we’re trying to achieve at http://www.bloggingstandards.com I hope you’ll join us. The new site will be launching very soon.

      Reply
  7. Whether a press trip is a business investment or a marketing tool is really the issue here. If a tourist board or company is expecting sales then they should really be sending travel agents and hotels who can resell their products. That’s business investment. Marketing on the other hand is a whole different ball game. Marketing your tours in a magazine with X circulation is no guarantee of sales, neither is online marketing.

    Many tourist boards I’ve spoken to in recent months consider brand awareness and a change of image to be the most important reason for sending journalists and bloggers on press trips rather than expecting high traffic returning to their web site.

    Who should be sent on trips is another matter. Something that is of importance to me as my web site is all about trusting in bloggers who can fulfil the needs of those offering press trips.

    Reply
    • Matt-

      Thanks for your comment; you raise lots of important points.
      First, I think many writers and bloggers may not even know that tourism boards and their PR/marketing firms do run press trips for travel agents and other hospitality industry folks, where the expectations about outcomes may be different. And I think you’re absolutely right to say that the ROI on a trip for that audience is likely to be different than it would be on a trip for writers (And God knows travel agents need to go on those trips, too– I recently sat on an opinion panel with travel agents and hotel developers to talk about Mexico and I was shocked by their perceptions of the interior of Mexico. I thought, “Good God, these people are making recommendations to travelers without ever having been to the places they’re talking negatively about.”).

      And your other really important point is the issue of brand awareness and image change. Point definitely taken.

      Again, I think this all ultimately comes down to the conversation that’s being had (or not) between writers and PR reps.

      Do you have any opinions about how PR firms should make decisions about who should be sent on trips?

      Reply
      • Who they send depends entirely on what they plan to get out of it. This goes for the type of blogger they send too. Blogs with traffic is only half of the story these days. Bloggers with social networking influence play a big part too. It’s often a blogger’s social network that helps spread the word about the press trip derived content they’ve published.

        At the moment it seems spreading the word is as important as getting a few high traffic bloggers on press trips. I agree that sending someone ranked 3 million in Alexa probably isn’t the wisest of choices but still it’s worth doing the research to find out if the blogger is professional enough to provide a good result, is active on social networks as well as their blog and maybe has a proven record of delivering similar work.

        Again I must mention my latest project designed specifically for the discussion of how PR and bloggers can work together. The Blogging Standards Association will be an open platform for both parties to discuss their concerns and find ways to work together more harmoniously. The new site should be launched in the next week or so.

    • I’m glad to hear you are putting together a tool to help bloggers adhere to certain standards. All bloggers or travel bloggers? Sounds similar to what we discussed at TBEX Europe. Can’t wait to see your take on the idea.

      In terms of business investment vs. marketing spend, it sounds like splitting hairs. Any business worth their salt wants measurable results from any “spend”. Tracking sales data to prove ROI is only one way to achieve this. From time immemorial, “press clippings” have been a standard in PR firms to prove their mettle as they improve public perception of the product, in this case the property. Were I a PR person, I would expect a certain level of “transparent feedback” from a blogger, wherein they provided links, traffic, online discussion in the form of a pdf or online portfolio that helped me to understand where my dollars went. There are tools that make it simpler to assess online influence, spread etc. and I think both parties should tap into those to see if the relationship is of “value” to both sides.

      I think bloggers that do the aforementioned and/or have a track record of success will wind up being the ones who enjoy more press trip like assignements. The ones who MASTER it and create processes around it, will find themselves as paid consultants.

      Reply
  8. Matt-

    Traffic definitely isn’t the only marker and social media is inarguably an important aspect, but the folks who’ve been on trips with me who have those super low Alexa ranks don’t “do” social media either, so I’ve been puzzled what, exactly, they’re representing in terms of perceived value.

    I’d love to know more about your project and will check out the site.

    Reply
  9. I’m still stuck on the bloggers w/ sites w/ Alexa ranking 3 million being given comped hotel stays and being invited on press trips. BOGGLES THE MIND. Seems to me PR folks in that instance are totally clueless, or the blogger/freelance writer has an assignment to write for another high-trafficked site or a print publication with a decent circulation that we might not know about.

    PR people have EVERY RIGHT to ask for Google Analytics screenshots or other proof of blog/site traffic.

    Similarly, I’ve also seen freelance writers on trips who write for dinky print community newspapers w/ little circulation. Do PR/CVBs who are paying big money to fly that writer somewhere and put them up for days really see that as a good investment?

    Reply
  10. Kara-

    If I were a PR person, I’d want it all! 🙂
    I’d start with doing my own quick scan of Alexa and/or Compete data and request Google Analytics– each data set provides some useful information and comparative frameworks.

    Reply
  11. Working in a career for more than a decade in which ROI is very difficult to quantify, I have a special interest in this topic. First, what defines a business blog vs. a hobby blog? Do I make money from my blog? Yeah, but not very much. Is it a business? I’m not so sure. It’s not my full time job, but I certainly wouldn’t call it just a hobby either. No matter how you look at it, travel blogs exist in a permanent gray area.

    My second concern is determining ROI. I think it necessarily must vary based on the type of trip, and this is where PR firms need to up their game. For example, let’s say a firm represents the Bahamas. Does it make sense to have the top 3 travel bloggers attend their trip, even though their interest in the Bahamas may not be high or does it make more sense to have smaller blogs which are specifically geared towards Caribbean travel? Hard to say, but I’d probably go with the targeted blogs. In this case then, it’s the audience demographic and not the size of the audience that matters most.

    The rise of the travel blog (sounds like a horror movie) combined with a new focus on social media means that it’s a brave new world for everyone. PR firms are trying as best they can to adapt, but it’s difficult for them. Bloggers can and should assist in this process. If approached for a trip, they MUST take into account the importance of the destination to their readers and the overall mission of their site. Failure to do so not only takes advantage of the firm and client, but does their audience a tremendous disservice as well.

    Reply
  12. Oh, and to add I just signed a trip contract that did specify number of posts, tweets, etc. they expected and that we were to share all demographics with them afterward. They didn’t make conditions on the stats, the only conditions were how many posts to write, etc. I liked that, the only mandates were things entirely in my control.

    Reply
  13. This should be cut and dry — Most serious journalists would not write about a trip or company or place if any of those folks had paid for the trip. It’s simply a conflict of interest — you may or may not be writing about them because they paid for it, but either way it could appear as though that’s the case.

    But I do think these paid-for press trips are becoming more popular (and even, gag, more acceptable) as news outlets cut down on staff and budget and expect freelancers to foot more of the bill. The whole situation really rubs me the wrong way — Of course I’d write a rave review about a company if they invited me on their trip for free. Otherwise, I might not even write about them at all. The more this happens, the more journalism gets watered down, and the less the public trusts our work overall — not just in the travel industry.

    Reply
    • Alexis-

      Well that’s a whole other issue– are writers/bloggers “journalists”? (You and I would both argue no, I suspect). I don’t necessarily think that press trips compromise objectivity or ethics; they haven’t for me. I don’t shill for anyone, and any PR person who’s ever invited me on a trip can tell you that I’ve never held back an opinion… even when it made them uncomfortable (I’ll eventually get around to telling a story about the mega-resort in Belize).

      What intrigues me is the fact that this conversation is largely restricted to bloggers and freelancers, and that no one’s really talking about this issue (at least no one I know) on the print level. I know for a fact that several print publications have a strict “no press trip” policy for their freelancers, splashing the “We’re totally objective!” line across their publications while their editors and staff writers *do* go on press trips. There’s no disclosure about these trips and there’s no explicit disclosure when the tourism board is also an advertiser. I’m curious to see when someone with a much larger platform than Cuaderno Inedito takes up this issue.

      Reply
      • Good point that bloggers may abide by a different set of rules. Unfortunately, to the public, we’re all in the same bucket.

        Of course mainstream news orgs are not in the right if they say they’re objective and then allow press trips. If they’re paying for them, that’s a different story. Even if they have advertising from certain companies — at most pubs, editorial is separate from advertising for that very reason.

  14. I think it’s reasonable for a PR firm to ask for confirmed commission before they spend client’s money. They are not trying to dictate content, just to make sure they are going to see something in print. Otherwise they will get taken for a ride by bad journalists who blag and run and client will sack them. The ROI element

    Any PR who sends a blogger on an expensive trip is being very brave. They need to be sure the blogger can write well (most can’t because they are their own editors) and that they really do have a worthwhile readership ( not a circle jerk of other bloggers). Social Media is a minefield for PRs. At least professional journalists can be relied on to be balanced, even if they are negative. Bloggers often just write ugly diatribes and there is no way the recipient of such bile can ask for a retraction of mistakes etc

    The problem is that PR co’s are scared of Social Media. They have to include it on the presentation to client as its all the rage, but they have no benchmarks.

    Reply
    • Nick-

      Thanks for your comment, especially the mention of the circle jerk of bloggers (which is why I asked a few weeks ago in a different post whether travel blogging is a closed circle). I think it’s fine if the readers are other travel bloggers because those are folks who are more likely to travel, but if I were a PR person, I’d want to see a diverse readership.

      Again, I think many of the issues we’re discussing in the comments here come down to whether there’s a clear and honest line of communication between the writer and the PR firm.

      Reply
  15. On the issue of print sending staff on PR trips. For as long as I can remember newspapers have used those kind of free trips as a perk for the workers. The more senior the journalist the better the trip and often with his her spouse and family too. The less good trips are given to the less senior journos until eventually the bottom ones are just offered out on a first come basis. The journos will not be travel writers, I have seen senior political commentators, sports editors etc get the 2 weeks on a tropical island type hols while the post boy has been sent to a coastal resort 2 hrs from london and he’s been very happy too.

    The resulting copy is nearly always complimentary and it is made clear that the writer travelled as a guest of etc etc. I don’t think any of the writers involved felt any qualms. After all, the piece did not affect their credibility as senior XXX and probably was not even read by their normal audience.

    Freebies are part of the DNA of journalism and everyone understands the game and plays along to the rules.

    Reply
  16. Greetings from the dark side!!! Just kidding. 🙂
    I have to say, from the PR perspective I love the idea of a contract. Not for the guaranteed coverage (you said this contract did NOT ask for that) but for your commitment to attend.
    I’ve had THREE writers cancel on me in the last couple years and we eat the airfare.

    Regarding the guaranteed coverage issue. I don’t think that’s ethical. It’s a risk I take when I have you here and I do my job by 1) screening you so I know you are who you are and 2) making sure the trip is the experience you are looking for, for your writing interests. This hasn’t failed me yet!

    Last point: this is a business transaction not a paid vacation. A contract is a great idea. With the right clauses in it, of course.

    Reply
    • Lisa-

      Thanks so much for a PR perspective. I don’t think writers are cognizant, often, of the actual expenses of press trips… either that or they don’t think that someone’s actually paying for the different components of the trip. That expense shouldn’t make a writer feel compelled to write glowing pieces about experiences that aren’t, in fact, glowing. It should, however, make them recognize that the trip is an investment and that if something about the trip doesn’t fulfill the expectations that were established by the PR firm, then the writer has a professional obligation to discuss that with the PR firm and/or relevant individuals/businesses involved.

      I do think, as with any travel experience, that the more the PR professional can do to set proper expectations, the more fruitful the experience will be for everyone.

      Reply
  17. wow, I’m a little surprised (but not really) at some of the comments directed towards bloggers. “Bloggers often just write ugly diatribes” and a “circle jerk of interest?” Really? The fact is that certain bloggers have more readers than most online print mags. Here’s a great article explaining this shift: http://travelwriting2.com/who-has-the-biggest-circulation-now/

    Reply
    • Matt-

      Thanks for your earlier comments, too; glad you’re keeping up with the conversation. I’d love to hear back from you after the press trip that required you to sign a contract to see how it all worked out for you.

      Regarding the comments about ugly diatribes and circle jerks, I can only speak for myself but here’s where I stand. A while back, I wrote another post on this blog about travel blogging being a relatively closed circle… another less polite phrase would be circle jerk. While on the one hand I find travel bloggers to be incredibly supportive and generous of one another, I also find that there’s lots of “I’ll promote your post if you’ll promote mine” kinds of behavior and I often wonder to what extent folks are cross-promoting because they genuinely believe the writing is good or because they believe that by supporting someone else–especially someone who’s deemed “influential”–that it will also help them get ahead, whatever “ahead” is for them. As I wrote in that earlier post, as much as I admire the collegiality of travel bloggers, I’d really like to see more of them actively work to engage people outside that immediate circle. Otherwise, travel blogs just become one big echo chamber.

      Ultimately, though I recognize that blogging and online writing period is a numbers game, I’d also like to believe that at the end of the day what we’re doing isn’t solely about having more readers. It’s about (I hope) creating conversation, opening the world to people who may not be able to experience it, and sharing meaningful experiences… rather than just reciprocating because we believe it’s in our own best interests.

      Reply
  18. Looking at everyone’s Alexa ranking has become a real fetish for me lately. It’s interesting to see how horrible some of the rankings are for what seem to be the best blogs out there. Case in point: I used to be a big fan of Expat Daily News South America. Its last resident blogger, Cathy Brown, is a good writer who consistently produced interesting interviews and guest posts. She also generated a huge following on Twitter within just a few months.

    But the site has always had a terrible Alexa.com ranking. Cathy left the site last month “to pursue other opportunities.” (I suspect it was an offer she couldn’t refuse).

    Without its biggest asset – – Cathy — the expat blog has not posted since Nov. 18. Its Alexa rank is 1.1 million, with no regional data. (Albeit, this number is about what it was with Cathy).

    There’s an expat couple that’s slated to take over the site. But, they’ll have to be pretty good in order for me to get over losing Cathy.

    I’m going to do a blog post on this.

    Reply
    • Steve-

      Thanks for your comment. I was just about to email you, actually, about one aspect of Alexa rankings, since I’m about to hand out promotion codes for the San Juan iPhone app I’ve written. It’s always puzzling to me how someone who’s recognized as an “expert” in a certain geographical or topical niche in travel can have a website or blog with a 2 -5 million Alexa ranking. On the other hand, I guess they’re in the same predicament I am! There are only so many hours in a day and lots of projects we want to bring into the world. As a full-time mom, full-time editor for Matador and teacher at MatadorU, and as a freelancer who actually enjoys writing lots of different kinds of pieces (and as someone who has way too many offline interests, too), I just don’t have the time to invest in keeping an eye on my Alexa rank and pulling it down by doing all the “best practices” for doing so. Something’s gotta give, so it’s the Alexa rank. 🙂

      Reply
  19. Alexa probably isn’t such a good metric for most niche blogs. I bet many websites with a better Alexa ranking would gladly trade at least some of it for more comments etc.—(like the 35 comments you’ve generated with this post). I’d rather have passionate traffic than higher stats with little interaction etc.

    That said, a site’s Alexa ranking is still worth a look. Alexa is one of a few factors I look at when deciding whether to do a guest post etc.

    Reply
  20. Great discussion. Firstly I’ll say that I speak as someone with a small foothold in both journalism and blogging camps, so I’m chipping in somewhat anxiously here. When it comes to evaluating bloggers, it is understandable that traffic stats will/should be scrutinised to an extent, but I do wonder about the risk of comparing apples n oranges.
    I’ve worked in marketing and PR for a number of years and could never quite share my bosses’ excitability about AEV figures and the like. So a newspaper/mag has a certain circulation figure, even if we (naively) assume that these are correct in themselves, how does anyone know how many people will read the travel section on any given day or your specific article within it?
    Regardless of the media you’re working in, one can only guarantee certain things. It sounds like Matt has got a reasonable deal with his trip with sensible expectations. Like him I’m working on a trip currently where I’m proposing a certain volume of deliverables: so many posts on my blog, so many guest posts on others, a certain number of tweets, a certain range of content and themes over a certain timeframe – and I think I’m offering a lot of value, maybe even too much for this particular trip.
    Beyond that – and until I land an editorial commission or 2 – what else can I promise really? Do I know how popular those posts will be or how many people will even digest the info they’ve read?
    Similarly, they are a number of socmed metrics flying around just now but they’re all flawed and in relatively early stages, so no one really has much faith in them.
    What I’m getting to is maybe there is simply too much emphasis placed on quant over qualitative evaluation of blog/online content. Isn’t it better to contract someone who can write knowledgeably and engagingly for a smaller audience, than a big shot writer with an ace contacts book who churns this stuff out all the time for chip wrapper fodder every other day?
    The little guy blogger/writer might make a more sustained effort to promote her posts on SM sites or whatever because the work means more to her, whereas Mr Big Shot will probably move on to the next gig as soon as copy’s filed without a second thought.
    Phew, long comment, sorry, but hey, y’all started it! 🙂

    Reply
    • Jools-

      Yes!
      I suppose that’s what one of the ideas I’m trying to get at here– that there’s got to be some qualitative metric in addition to the quantitatives (but there do have to be some basic quantitatives, too). In addition, there has to be an acknowledgment from all parties, that metrics (whether for print or online) are not necessarily accurate reflections– and I love your print example.

      I think that we’re only just beginning to consider the many different ways excellent writing and multimedia packages can be presented to readers, and likewise just beginning to figure out how to measure the return or conversion of what happens once readers “consume” that writing. Makes for some murky agreements, sometimes, but also some exciting possibilities.

      Reply

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