Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Ink-slinging of another sort.
Preparations for my senior exhibition have begun, and I'll most likely be suffering from subsequent sleep deprivation and some level of dementia. However, one project that I'll be coming out with is a short-ish book that I'll be hopefully co-writing with my good pal Kyle. I'll add illustrations and topical cartoons as well. I began this idea a year and a half ago, but after some time, Kyle and I put it on the back burner. But now It seems appropriate that we revisit it.
For now it's going to be a series of short editorial pieces and essays with the illustrations or cartoons staying relevant to the text. I still don't have a solid outline for the book yet, but this morning I wanted to jump in with both feet and start writing. I know my writing abilities aren't up to par with Kyle's as you may find out later, but below is a quick piece that I hope you'll enjoy. Comments are welcome.
A Better Business Model
By Marc Anderson
As most college graduates, or anyone trying to get into a higher paying job knows, there is a strange dichotomy between remaining ethical and true to yourself in a job search and actually finding any work at all. As an artist just starting out, I feel this doubly so. Anyone worthwhile wants to see your published work before hiring you, yet in order to get any published work, you are forced to work for a pittance or on a supposed wage of “exposure.” I would indeed work for exposure, but exposure, given a dollar amount in relation to the art industry, has a negative value. It’s a way of undercutting a sea of other professionals who require higher payment to survive, thereby inflating the worth of the profession. I once inflated an inner tube and much like working on an exposure basis, it was exasperating, and I my reward was a light-headed euphoria followed by a splitting migraine. Damn inner tubes.
This sort of frustration is not limited to my pity party. The entire newspaper industry is more than likely far worse off than I, never mind, the light-headed euphoria and migraine it will likely experience. Which factor has been most pivotal in the decline of newspapers you ask? Well, disregarding newspapers’ falling readerships during much of the ‘80s and ‘90s, we see that the internet hasn’t done them any favors. It would seem that the internet is a great venue for news writers to reach hungry news readers, and it is. The possibilities with web-based news are almost as great in numbers as pointless, amateur, blogs. It’s a close one there, but blogging about kittens is the last great source of untapped revenue and billions of bloggers know this. Streaming videos, instant news updates, links to other high interest sites, and catchy little animations are all being employed on bigger news sites. The list could go on forever, but for the sake of saving us both time, you can read a more extensive coverage of the topic on Wikipedia. The great thing about web-based news media is that it is brought to you for the low cost of… FREE. Sure there are a few regional newspapers that charge a nominal fee comparable to a subscription to the print version, but the only people who pay for anything online are Netflix users, online gamblers, and one middle-aged, man in northern Montana who peruses Ebay trying to piece together his nearly complete Beanie Baby collection. The idea of paying for content on the web has become such a foreign concept to most. How then can a legitimate news source expect to procure a sustainable profit? We should probably just destroy Craigslist, and that would take care of a lot of advertising sales issues. Or if someone deleted the word frugal from the online dictionary, readers would be less hesitant to pay for web-based reporting.
While I’m still struggling to get work published, I have met limited success here and there. I have been guilty of doing work for next to nothing, just so that I could see it on a nice glossy page with this fine print text adjacent: “Illustration by Marc Anderson.” I’d hate to think that that is what larger newspapers are doing on the web. They definitely don’t need the kind of validation that a scrawny 23 year-old from Wisconsin does. If the bulk of web-based news outlets can band together and adopt a functional business model that still allows for competition and affordability, maybe they will survive this e-advent. If not, we’ll all just have to take in and enjoy that light-headed euphoria and then preemptively take a handful of Advil.