Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Media Deflation: How valuable a skill is writing?

For most of recorded history, writing has not been a way to pay the bills. From the invention of the printing press in the 16th century until the creation of newspapers in the 18th century, writing was a hobby for the wealthy. Newspapers, and then mass-produced books and magazines provided a platform to enrich a relative few stars and allow a relatively large number of people to earn a living, but not an especially lucrative one.

Now the spread of costless electronic distribution is gutting the value of this "second tier" of writers, but that's not because no one reads their writing. Quite the opposite; their writing is very popular. It's just that so many of them are so very willing to write for free online, a fact lamented by an ex-Huffington Post editor.

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