Week 3 Reading
Ramon Lobato and Julian Thomas, 2015, ‘Work’ in The Informal Media Economy,Polity Press, Cambridge UK, ch.3.
In this week’s reading, Ramon Lobato and Julian Thomas talks about the informal media economy. They explain how in actual media production and distribution, many of it is actually repetitive and lowly paid.
The question posed in the reading was “Do content farms and freelancers sites exploit writers and erode the working standards of writing professions? Or do they provide a previously non-existent opportunity for amateurs to get paid- albeit modestly- doing what they love?
I have to say that this reading was really relevant to me. Having worked as a freelancer, I could relate to the concerns that were brought up in the readings. The unpredictable and insecure aspects of work in the cultural, creative and media industries can be a challenge for upcoming media practitioners, such as ourselves. While the reading focused more on the writing aspect, I believe it expands to other areas of media as well.
I thought it was interesting that the Hesmond-halgh and Baker (2011) placed a strong emphasis on formal measures like unionization and a basic guaranteed income as a mean of reform, as well as individual commitment not to self-exploit as a solution to the creative labour problem. How much are we willing to sacrifice in order to gain experience? The media industry places much emphasis on experience, without a proper platform or system there is simply no other choice for future media practitioners to gain relevant industry experience.
This brings us back to the original question posted, does it exploit or are there more benefits? In my opinion, it really has to depend on which perspective you are looking at. Ethics are equally important for both the producers and writers.