As the hardtracking staff has previously noted, journalists have been two-time losers in the native advertising dodge. They’re either 1) bypassed by their publications (a good thing in our estimation, a bad thing in their bank accounts), or 2) hired to compromise themselves for pennies on the dollar.

Now comes the real-life story of one such compromiser.

From Digiday (via FishbowlNY):


Confessions of a journalist moonlighting as a native ad writer: ‘I’m not proud’

At a time when good-paying freelance assignments are harder to come by, many journalists are heeding the call of native advertising, where the pay is decent and the work is steady. But there’s a cost. Many worry about the impact on their credibility as a journalist. Some are even finding they aren’t so welcome back in newsrooms once they work for the business side.

In the latest in Digiday’s “Confessions” series, we talked to a veteran freelance writer who has written for top women’s magazines and other national publications about the dark side of native. In this case, the journalist was working for a publisher’s content studio, which assigned stories a given client wanted written.


Turns out, in some cases the pay’s not so bad after all.


You’ve been a freelance journalist in print and online. What led you to take a job writing native advertising?
It would be called debt. I’m getting $500 a day. It was the same as a [journalism] job I had a couple years ago. And the reality is, it’s a whole lot easier. I’m doing a job, and I’m not dealing directly with the client. I feel like I’m writing in a vacuum.


The work, however, is bad.


What’s the quality of the stories you’re being assigned?
It’s the lowest common denominator.



Then again, the alternatives aren’t all that great either.


What’s the state of freelancing these days? I’m assuming it isn’t pretty.
I despise it. It’s not worth my energy. They’re paying much less money for stupid stories. The Daily Beast is paying $300 for an article. It’s offensive. That’s what the Internet has done.


And what stealth marketers have done as well.

John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
John R. Carroll has 303 post(s) on Sneak Adtack