Welcome to the bottom of the barrel. Just last week, I wroteabout the growing influence of “page views” on the quality reporting and storytellingskills that have defined the journalism industry for decades.

Yet, as alarming as that story was to me as a communicationsprofessional, the subjects raised in this recent article – appropriately titled“Mediocrity is King” – takes my frustration to a whole newlevel. 

Once you dig past The Huffington Post advertising example, the authorsheds light on the real crux of the issue:

The growing influence that Content Farms, such as Demand Media and Associated Content,are having on the stories we find online.

Like field hands working on a farm, these content-drivenorganizations utilize a vast network of low-cost, freelance contributors –people who have the means to churn out written and video stories on a scale nonews organization will ever be able to duplicate.

Next, by focusing on search terms and what competitors aresaying, this “content assembly-line” feeds consumers stories to support aparticular brand message or point-of-view.

While no one can argue against the importance of content inthe digital age, I’d counter again that once we go down the path where volumetrumps quality, what are we really proving here? 

Isn’t it time we recognize the use of Content Farms for whatit truly is – paid advertising (poorly paid in fact) … and for what it’s not –quality journalism.

— Janet Tyler