The Decline of Photo Stock Agencies

Posted by Chika On 11:33 AM 0 comments

World Map by Population

Think the decline and fall of the professional travel writing industry is a sad, sad thing? Then consider the crisis now facing professional photographers, who have been making a respectable living via photo stock agencies for many decades. Looks like the photo stock agency as business model is almost on it's last legs.

After several weeks of back-and-forth, Menashe emailed Harmel to say that, regretfully, the deal was off. “I discovered a stock photo site called iStockphoto,” she wrote, “which has images at very affordable prices.” That was an understatement. The same day, Menashe licensed 56 pictures through iStockphoto – for about $1 each.

iStockphoto, which grew out of a free image-sharing exchange used by a group of graphic designers, had undercut Harmel by more than 99 percent. How? By creating a marketplace for the work of amateur photographers – homemakers, students, engineers, dancers. There are now about 22,000 contributors to the site, which charges between $1 and $5 per basic image. (Very large, high-resolution pictures can cost up to $40.) Unlike professionals, iStockers don’t need to clear $130,000 a year from their photos just to break even; an extra $130 does just fine. “I negotiate my rate all the time,” Harmel says. “But how can I compete with a dollar?”

He can’t, of course. For Harmel, the harsh economics lesson was clear: The product Harmel offers is no longer scarce. Professional-grade cameras now cost less than $1,000. With a computer and a copy of Photoshop, even entry-level enthusiasts can create photographs rivaling those by professionals like Harmel. Add the Internet and powerful search technology, and sharing these images with the world becomes simple.

Wired Link

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World Map to Explore

Several intriguing writing job opportunities has recently popped up on Craig's List for those of you living in the Bay Area, or willing to relocate.


Common Ground Editor (SOMA / south beach)

Reply to:
Date: 2006-05-24, 6:26PM PDT

Common Ground is looking for a new editor and writers for our revised publication. Common Ground has been covering the spiritual, political, environmental issues of the Bay Area for over 30 years. We are looking for writers/editors who want to make a difference.

Our ideal candidates are spiritual, not religious, love the environment and have an activist vibe, and knows San Francisco. If this is you or if you have articles that you think may be of interest to us please send them along.


Editor/Content Manager (potrero hill)

Reply to:
Date: 2006-05-24, 3:36PM PDT

May 2006
Job #1745

Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts is the largest regionally accredited, independent school of art and design in the western United States. Noted for the interdisciplinary nature and breadth of its programs, the college offers studies in eighteen majors in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college confers the bachelor of architecture, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of architecture, master of arts, and master of fine arts degrees. With campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, California College of the Arts currently enrolls fifteen hundred full-time students.

REPORTS TO: Director of Publications

DEPARTMENT: Communications

Under the direction of the director of publications, the editor/content manager is responsible for managing copy for a variety of college publications.

* Manage college copy across departments in order to promote a unified image/voice of the college; develop database of copy that can be drawn on for a variety of print and web publications
* Serve as editor of and write feature articles and news items for Glance, the biannual college magazine; work with in-house and freelance writers on other magazine articles
* Maintain CCA¡¦s house style guide
* Contract and supervise freelance writers and proofreaders
* Work with clients from various departments of the college to help them develop copy
* Manage new copy and updates for college listings in Peterson¡¦s and Princeton guides; also, coordinate copy for college listings in various online guides
* Manage copy for various print publication series, e.g. CCA Wattis Institute catalogs, Architecture Studio Series
* Compile collegewide calendar listings for use in web and print materials
* Work with news team and web manager to write news items and repurpose copy for college website
* Write articles, press releases, brochure copy, and other texts, as needed
* Proofread college publications, as needed
* Work on publications with in-house Sputnik design team, as well as freelance designers

* BA and three or more years editing and writing experience, preferably within an educational or cultural setting
* Excellent copyediting, proofreading, and writing skills
* Detail-oriented with a thorough knowledge of and experience using The Chicago Manual of Style and The Associated Press Stylebook
* Ability to work on deadline and manage a number of assignments at once
* Outstanding interpersonal skills; the ability to work well with faculty, staff, and students; and a proven record of working both independently and as part of a team.
* Flexibility and ability to thrive in a fast-paced, creative environment.

Applicants are invited to submit a letter of interest, resume and the names and telephone numbers of three professional references to:

California College of the Arts
Human Resources (Job #1745)
5212 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94618-1487
fax (510) 594-3681

Application Deadline:
Screening begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

California College of the Arts is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes
applications from individuals who will contribute to its diversity.

Compensation: Starting salary $43,000 to $46,000, and includes a comprehensive benefits package.

This is at a non-profit organization.

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Dead Magazine Reviews

Posted by Chika On 6:13 PM 0 comments

One Magazine Dead

If you're thinking about sending off your latest travel missive to some suspect magazine, you might check the website below to see if the mag will still be in business in six months, and able to send you that hefty check for your writing skills.

Besides, any website that can quote obscure lyrics from Alice Cooper is completely all right with me. Did I tell you I was in Phoenix last week, and that Cooper has a restaurant/nightclub in that town? He, apparently, hangs out there on a regular basis, when he's not working on his nine-iron shot at the local links.

Bundle: RIP April 2005 - May 2006

Alice Cooper is one of the Grim Reaper's favorite bands from the 70's with their classic 1971album Killer, and the song "Dead Babies." Perhaps you remember the lyrics? Sing along with the Reaper if you know this one: "Dead babies can't take care of themselves/Dead babies can't take things off the shelf."

Well, here's one magazine that can no longer take care of itself. Harris Publishing shut down their baby shopping magazine Bundle today after five issues.

Even the Reaper has to admire this feat from the under-the-radar Harris -- not only did they fail in the much hyped "shopping" category, but the Reaper can't remember the last time a baby magazine went under.

Perhaps like men and Cargo, mommies just don't want baby shopping magazines when they already get inundated with real baby catalogs in the mail, gifts from friends, and oh yes, the other five zillion parenting magazines.

So we are taking this "Bundle" down the dark river, while the Reaper puts on his DiePod for some more Alice Cooper: "No more Mr. Nice Guy/No more Mr. Cle-e-e-ean!"

Magazine Death Pool

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Outside Travel Issue

Posted by Chika On 11:42 AM 0 comments

Mt. Abu India by Carl Parkes

I just got back from a two week press trip to Arizona organized by SATW, which featured several travel writers and editors pontificating on the perils of travel writing in the modern age. The travel editor and former freelance travel writer who now oversees Arizona Highways, and Larry at the Dallas Morning News both had the same message for travel writers: get "chunky" and learn to love bullets in 500 words or less. I just wanted to hang myself in the nearest bathroom after hearing the doom and gloom outlook from both of these respected travel editors.

In other news, Outside magazine has posted some travel tidbits in "chunky" version (I think that means "bullets" rather than long, involved discourse) that is worth a gander, but don't expect any critical or meaningful insight. But do expect some clever and quick writing.

You can click the link at the bottom of each page to go to the next travel matter.

With 78 percent of U.S. travelers now using the Internet to plan their trips, you might assume guidebooks are on the wane. You'd be wrong. Sixty-eight percent of American travelers still turn to guidebooks for travel advice. "You can read your guidebook in the bathroom or on a train or on a ferry on the Congo River," notes Simone Andrus, whose Seattle travel store Wide World Books & Maps has seen guidebook sales rise by 10 percent since 2004.

When shopping for a guide, check the copyright page (you want something that's been updated more recently than, say, the tax code) and find one that focuses as narrowly as possible on your destination. Look for a personality that matches yours—but let go of any decade-old stereotypes. Books from Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, and Moon are still designed for adventurous travelers but now cater to those who'd rather not rough it at bedtime or mealtime. And guides from Fodor's and Frommer's have hipped up to appeal to a younger crowd, with colorful maps and graphics, plus advice on a broader range of attractions, from classic to quirky. Most important, remember that every guidebook is just that—a guide. Use it for context, consult it for planning, and know when to put it away. The best discoveries are those you make on your own.

Required Reading

"I take Graham Greene's THE QUIET AMERICAN everywhere. Whether I'm in Yemen or Saigon or Havana, it's an almost infallible guide to the perils of foreign wisdom, the resilience of native cultures, and the way we fall in love with places precisely because we can't understand or even handle them."—Pico Iyer, Travel Writer

Moving Words // Where Guidebooks Are Going

With Internet competition hot on their heels, guidebook publishers are constantly tweaking format—and focus—to keep up with travelers' needs. Here are the trends to watch. Scratch a Niche: Look for guides that cover themes, not specific regions, including The Traveling Marathoner (Fodor's, $28), Hip Hotels Atlas (Thames & Hudson, $50), and the new Take a Hike series (Moon Outdoors, $17). Undersize It: Mini-guides are hot. Perfect for quick trips, they zoom in on a destination, with fewer pages and a smaller, more packable size.

We like Insight Pocket Guides ($13–$14), 96-page books covering key sights, with handy foldout maps. Get Wired: DK's new e>>guides ($15), covering cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and Barcelona, come with passwords for access to exclusive online information, including hotel and restaurant updates. Radio-Free Planet: To increase their online presence, travel publishers are venturing into Internet radio.

Check out the new podcasts—free travel-related reports narrated by expert globe-trotters—at,, and Go Deep: With the basics readily available online, guidebooks are amping up their historical and cultural information. Fodor's Compass American Guides ($21–$22) specialize in putting travel in context, with detailed maps and color photos.

Best of All: Top-ten lists and "best of" roundups, intended as shortcuts to the ultimate travel experiences, are also big this year. See Lonely Planet's Bluelist ($20), a guide to the travel trends of 2006, with 40 best-of categories like "most remote" and "best train trips," and National Geographic's The 10 Best of Everything: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers ($20).

Outside Magazine Link

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Laurie King Travel Writer Newsletter

Posted by Chika On 11:03 AM 0 comments

India by Carl Parkes

Just back from a two week press trip to Arizona, and realized that I haven't done any new posting to this blog is quite some time, so will pass along a very informative website and subscriber blog from Laurie King, based here in the Bay Area. Although many of the postings on her blog are oriented toward those travel writers living in the Bay Area, there's enough general content to make this a useful website for anyone active in the travel writing arena. So bookmark her website and subscribe to her weekly notices and updates.

Nice work, Laurie. See you down at the Monticello!

Laurie King Website

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