Why the old model is dying: a case study

Earlier this year, a reporter from US News & World Report got in touch with my wife. The reporter was working on a story for the magazine’s annual graduate school rankings issue, which is a Big Deal for both the magazine and the schools.

After several e-mails back and forth and a few phone calls with the reporter, the magazine’s photo editor got in touch to schedule a day when a photographer could come out and get some art for the piece. They picked a day the following week.

The magazine flew a freelance photographer from Washington, D.C., to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on a week’s notice, and paid for his meals, rental car and a night in a hotel. He spent the day taking photos and ended up with a glorified stock photo and a cutline that doesn’t even identify it has being anywhere outside of Washington, D.C.

The story mentions and quotes my wife a single time. At the very end.

So how much did this photo cost? And what did it add?

And is it any wonder that this business model has been proven unsustainable?

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