The Woodland Daily Democrat, a California newspaper owned by Digital First Media, has reached out to its readers with an unbeatable offer: You write us a movie review, and we’ll run your work for free. Sure, they’re not actually paying for writing, but they’re not charging you, either, so it evens out, right?
Given that Digital First, which also owns the Denver Post and the San Jose Mercury News, actually shut off the power to its York, PA newspaper to save on electricity, this particular attempt to get something for nothing is small potatoes by comparison. But it’s yet another example of how publishers are following the model of social media companies by attempting to get their users to generate content that advertisers will then pay for other users to read. No problem, as long as you like your movie reviews to be as informative as your average Facebook Status Update.