Even Quality Media Properties Periodically Lower Standards In Quest For Content

Let me begin by saying I’m a fan of VentureBeat and what Matt Marshall has created since exiting the San Jose Mercury News. By hiring proven journalists, the property churns out a quality product.

While there are numerous ways to measure quality, the fact that the publication consistently ranks high on the Techmeme Leaderboard is one indicator.

VentrueBeat rankings on TechMeme

Perhaps more revealing, our clients want to be in VentureBeat.

But there’s no getting around that online media properties need to feed the beast; i.e., generate content which keeps the traffic humming.

In the spirit of efficiency, this means the periodic publishing of a story that’s essentially a news release rewrite.

You can see an example of this in the VentureBeat Tuesday story on a new line of Dell laptops.

Dell debuts new Inspiron laptop family for back-to-school

Now take a look at the highlighted content in the Dell news release.

Dell Unveils Ultimate Technology for Back-to-School with Redesigned Inspiron Laptop Family

Right.

A few chunks were pulled from the news release, the edges polished and presto, a story appears.

So why did VentureBeat bother?

I think the answer lies in the second sentence that the Dell laptops use Intel’s latest technology, the Ivy Bridge processor. The pressure to crank out copy on this given day just didn’t allow exploration of the angle.

Further reflecting a rush, there are a couple typos in the story (“remium” and “auido”).

I know this isn’t exactly a what’s-the-meaning-of-life insight.

I bring it up to make a simple point-

The quality of journalism ebbs and flows the same way the quality of communications ebbs and flows.

All of us are striving for the A quadrant.

Circumstances don’t always allow it.

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