I think they trained me too well…

I think Columbia J-School trained me too well. I’m working with SEO a lot lately in an attempt to raise page views. It’s going pretty well but I’m having a small issue.

I’m having a hard time justifying quantity over quality. I feel like I’ve spent the last 10 months digging deep into stories and really reporting the crap out of pieces and it seems silly to me to sacrifice quality for page views.

I’m of the opinion that page views don’t mean anything unless you have loyal readers. People want to know they can come to your site and find unique, different information than anywhere else, but how do they get there unless you work with SEO?

That’s where the other school of thought comes in: Write  bunch of Kate Middleton puff pieces to get views and increase your page rank and then you can write what you want. Which, I guess makes sense. I guess I’m just reluctant to give up hope that people want to read actual reported, moving stories more than they want to click through slideshows of Lady Gaga’s latest pants-less outfit.

I wish the J-School had conducted a debate about this while I was there. It would have been interesting to see how industry professionals view the two ways of thinking…particularly if they got some people from The New York Times and The Huffington Post on a panel.

I’d delve more deeply into the subject, which I think is a very interesting topic and very pertinent, not just to my life but to media in general, but I’m getting increasingly distracted by hockey.

Go Canucks. Game 7.

This just occurred to me though: What if we all wrote for SEO and to court Google all the time? Eventually there’d be no real journalism on the Internet…but do people still look to the Internet for hard-hitting journalism?

I just don’t know. I chose this career and I chose to aspire to be a magazine writer who would report and write in-depth stories, but now that I’m working at a website it’s like I need to re-evaluate everything I was trained to do and trained to think. I know it’ll be good to have experience doing both reporting and SEO aggregating on my resume but at the same time I really hope that reporting jobs don’t turn into aggregating jobs. I don’t think my soul could bear it.

But I suppose when it comes down to it all I want to do is write and I’m lucky that I get to…and get paid for it. I am very lucky.


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