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November 19, 2007

A First? Australian Journalist Fired Because His Online Stories Weren't Generating Enough Traffic

Strange not-so-new world, boys. Welcome to it.

An Australian journalist at one of the world's most respected technology publishers says he was retrenched because his stories were not generating enough website hits.

It is one of the first cases where the firing of an Australian journalist writing text articles has been linked directly to the number of hits - or reader clicks - they generate.

The move is seen by some as an omen for journalism, a profession still coming to grips with the impact of the web and the influx of armchair publishers and part-time writers.

Dave Jansen, who wrote TV reviews for Good Gear Guide and PC World, both owned by global magazine publisher IDG, said he was retrenched this month following IDG's decision to close the print edition of PC World and move exclusively to an online model.

"They [said they] looked at the number of reviews on the [Good Gear Guide] site and what categories were popular and, unfortunately, TVs weren't the highest popularity compared to mobile phones and cameras," Jansen said.

"Personally I think that a writer should be judged on his own merits and in hiring or firing it's probably more logical, I would think, to hire based on the quality of someone's work."

Eh, it seems like a dumb reason to fire him, but not because he wasn't getting hits. He wasn't getting hits apparently because he was assigned to a lesser-interest area. Can't blame him for that.

But to the extent that journalists have to begin to worry about whether their crap is read anymore... well, I guess it's a good thing. Though as far as politics, it's clear what will end up happening: Reporters, knowing that lefty blogs will link them for their more unhinged pieces, will all follow Keith Olbermann's lead in using unabashed partisanship to get a huge audience a tiny audience, but one slightly larger than Chris Matthews.

The MSM will not allow itself to be corrupted by allowing center-right or worse yet right-wing reporters try the same trick. Those few people will have to remain "objective and neutral" (i.e., softly pushing the establishment media's liberal line).

Thanks to AndrewB.

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posted by Ace at 10:00 PM

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