Lately I’ve been reading a lot about hyper-local journalism, niche journalism and something called a content farm. From what I can tell, different content farms take different approaches to generating content, but some, like Demand Media, use computers to gather information already posted online and then put that data through algorithms to produce a new, aggregated story.
Media Shift recently explored the various ways in which the content farm works.
But the approach to churning out that content varies from how-to articles (Demand Media), vertical topics (High Gear Media), hyper-local (Patch.com) and sports (Bleacher Report, SB Nation). And at some sites, writers get paid a small amount, while at others they toil for free.
A roundtable of representatives from various content farms talked about the ways in which this is different from citizen journalism and why some people may want to write for free.
Content farms may provide opportunities for writers to get noticed and a forum for those who are passionate about a particular topic or who want to promote a particular agenda or point of view.
Frankly, I think the term is still a bit undefined, but the potential for impact on journalists’ salaries is there, as well as on the overall profitability of news sites. It’s a term we’ll want to learn more about.