Spoiler: it has very little to do with the quality of your writing

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The iconic skyline of Rotterdam. Flickr


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Over 15 years, I was a well-paid journalist and news editor in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Until August 2011. Then I got fired from a prominent daily newspaper. The timing could not be worse. I was in the middle of a divorce, my youngest daughter was still a baby, and the economy was recovering after the financial crises in 2008.

My redundancy payment was just enough to cover a few months. Due to my divorce, I needed a new house, car, furniture, and lots more. So I was looking for a well-paying job. However, after years of working for chiefs, bosses, and managers, I wanted new directions. Maybe it was also because I hit 40 or because of the divorce. …

This journey created artistic and creative poverty in which an endless stream of formula movies blocked new stories and developments

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Speed 2 Cruise Control is an example of a sequel made with creative poverty.

A long time ago in what seems a galaxy far, far away, the world was quite simple. …

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Jeff Bezos (DoD photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz (Released)

One could say I am a veteran in Dutch journalism. I worked for over 20 years as a senior editor for big daily newspapers. I was editor in chief for influential trade magazines on transportation and automotive. Everywhere my colleagues claimed that their work was undisputable the most trustworthy out there. The daily journalists felt superior over the newbies of the free newspaper Metro. The trade magazine-writers argued that their deep knowledge over the markets made them far better journalists. At Metro, the editors spoke disparagingly of those other old-style newspapers with boring articles.

Currently, I am a desk editor at the news agency ANP, the Dutch equivalent of Associated Press and Reuters. Things are slightly different here. We don’t sell newspapers and we don’t have ads or a branded content department. We sell only one thing: authority. If we hit publish, our customers, basically al news media in The Netherlands, should be able to use our articles in their newspapers or websites without any hesitation or doubt over the accuracy of the information. …


René Quist

Journalist from The Netherlands with a strong interest in media, news industry, and innovation. Editor in chief and former lecturer journalism.

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