First it was travel stories, now this: Demand Media has entered into another partnership with a mainstream media organization to feed content to two of Hearst’s papers’ web sites, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle.
Demand will contract out its army of low-paid freelancers to provide real estate content for SFGate.com, the web site of the San Francisco Chronicle, and small business content for Chron.com, the web site of the Houston Chronicle.
The company sent an e-mail to contributors saying it was now accepting applications for the higher-paid, bylined opportunities, and asked that people please keep the papers’ names confidential until further notice. Unsurprisingly, the e-mail was immediately leaked to Erik Sherman at Bnet. “Most newspapers have been in terrible financial shape for years,” writes Sherman, “and many have looked for new ways to lower their costs. The opportunity to obtain articles and video for far less than they are accustomed to paying is tempting.”
The real estate section of newspapers has traditionally been the domain of higher paying freelance assignments, as they lack the glamor of, say, writing about music. But with Demand offering its low rates to thousands of willing writers, this cash cow for oldschool freelancers may dry up.