In journalism class this week, we took a different angle and worked on some custom publishing. I can't say it was one of my favourite assignments of the year. In fact, I'd go further and say I strongly dislike customer publishing.
As an aspiring journalist, there's nothing worse than writing a piece that a company has paid for. And for my assignment, I had to write a "story" on a local business as if they were paying for it.
Now this wasn't no ordinary story. I had to puff up the ego's of the client and make them look like they were the best thing since sliced bread. No interviews and no getting two sides of the story. Nothing. Just make the business look good.
Now I have no problem going out to a restaurant or seeing a show and writing a nice review if I had a good experience. But this is a totally different beast.
Custom publishing has been becoming more and more frequent in journalism in the past few years and frankly I'm not a big fan of it. I did a lot of similar stories in Portage when I was at the Daily Graphic and those stories aren't ones that I'd put in my portfolio.
It's not that it's poor writing - it's just that they feel so fake to me. Going to businesses and getting owners to tell me how great they think their work is isn't something I find particularly compelling as a reader or writer.
As someone who wants to be in this business a long time, I'm hoping that papers find different ways of bringing in revenue and don't solely rely on this method to bring in cash.
These advertorials don't evoke any passion, emotion, or anything that made me fall in love with journalism in the first place.
But that's just my take though.