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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I don't much care for the Avastar

German run tabloid, the Avastar, is hardly my favourite reading. In fact, I don't read it at all, except on the rare occasion that someone tugs on my arm and points me to something specific.


Well, let's see. When they started up, one of their staff contacted me and demanded that I send writing samples to them. Demanded. Also that I justify myself and tell them why I thought I was good enough to write for them.

Well - rather than sending any such thing back, I asked about their pay-rates. Mostly out of curiousity, as I'd already been turned off the notion of writing for them by the first contact.

The response I got gave me the impression (correctly or incorrectly) that they hadn't actually considered paying. When a figure was finally named, it looked like the token minimum to transfer the author's copyright to the publisher (a bit like the token 1USD to seal a contract or transfer property).

Someone else got in touch with me after that, in similar rude and peremptory tones. Later, a third person - though this time polite and considerate. A bit late, sorry.

I'm apparently mentioned in there once in a while. Like this top ten thing in the latest issue.

Problem is, that despite there only being a dozen or so words involved, the tiny scrap is not even factually correct.

Rude, demanding, incivil, inaccurate. Need I say more?

(This is, of course, my personal opinion. In case you're hard-of-thinking and believe that I intend that this should also be yours, well, that isn't so. Have your own experiences, and form your own opinions - don't let me or anyone else do your thinking for you)


  1. Well, I can't say I am that astonished, because the mothership - Axel Springer Presse - is running a daily of the worst imagineable kind in Germany. It's the "Bild", think of the UK Sun without factual correctness and right-wing leaning. They are notorious for breaking press codex and get regularily slapped for stuff like writing up factual incorrect stuff or publishing pictures where htey don't have the right to publish them.

    Oh, and they are notorious copycats, too - they have no problems whatsoever to copy stuff from wikipedia. It's quite hilarious, because when they are copying and not inventing things, they actually do get a few facts right. But even then they usually botch it by adding some of their own that sometimes even contradicts what they copied ...

    It's a really shitty piece of news, sadly has a very large following. Especially creepy in a land that claims people like Goethe, Heine, Lessing and others as their history ...

  2. Anonymous2:36 PM

    To be honest the whole "PDF download / unreadably typeset by a 12-year-old" thing has put me off actually _reading_ the Avastar at all. At least the Metaverse Messenger is reasonably put together if one does actually download and open the thing.

  3. I would have thought that they would have been more willing to use more pages and put less content on them per page. One thing about PDFs meant mainly for online perusal: the trees aren't going to whine if you use more pages to tell the same stories.

    Another thing they also tell you in design school: always design bigger and sparser for digital paper, because people's eyes tire faster with detail on LCD than detail on paper. Heavily columnar texts are NOT your friend on online paper.

    But if the paper's indeed typeset by a 12-year-old... eh.

  4. Same experience here, for what it's worth. I've explained that I don't generally write for other publications since I have a fairly well known outlet, and that I'd not make a good interview subject because what I have to say would not translate well to their format, but I keep getting these semi-rude demands to comment, write something, sit for an interview, etc. It's weird, and off-putting. I'm glad you said something -- I wondered if I was the only one.

  5. Tateru! I didn't know you had a blog! :)

    Anyway I thought the Avastar do a good job with their headlines and layout, catchy enough, sensationalistic, very tabloidy. I don't know what they pay or if it's good, nobody's ever asked me to write for them!

    But there's no reason to read a PDF online. PDFs are for printers, for reams of documents that need to be got online quickly.

    This is SL, they can try to be at least Web 1.0. Every article should be linkable, searchable, commentable, etc.

  6. Well, I finally did get a rate. It was a while ago and I don't recall exactly what it was, it was a lousy rate even at the time. I'm getting many times that rate writing for Massively (end shameless plug).

  7. Anonymous9:53 AM

    First, i didn't knew you had a blog, love to see it.

    About the Avastar, personally i published some photos there, and yes, they were some rude and demanding, the money they paid was not big, but either bad.

    Maybe my "not good" opinion about that tabloid is more about the content itself, specially the yellow press style, simplifying so much the information that finally becomes disinformation. Ok, i know is a tabloid, but even for a tabloid is too much.

    Of course, is just my opinion.


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