August 1, 2007

My new career

For the past three months I've been looking around for a job in Fayetteville. The job market here is terrible. The only jobs available seem to be things like driving forklifts, stripping, or becoming brand ambassador (meaning I would man a kiosk at the mall).

Since there aren't any "real" jobs for me, I've decided to try my hand at freelance writing. I have always wanted to write---ever since elementary school---and now I have the time to do it. I'm still trying to build up my portfolio so I started writing news abstracts at a website called Brijit. The pay is paltry ($5 per abstract) but it's easy and it gives me the chance to read good articles.

One of my abstracts was accepted today (it summarized an article in 60 minutes about Mixed Martial Arts) and I was a bit surprised at how much it was edited. I wasn't offended---just kind of perplexed. First, I can understand the need to edit for spelling errors or greater clarity but the editor kind of rehauled my little 100-word abstract. It's funny to me that this editor would spend so much time on such a little piece of writing.

Second, I also don't understand why Brijit even hires an editor to edit these abstracts. They're short. They're easy to write. Why not just pay this person to do the dirty work? I'm not complaining about earning a little cash here and there but it just seems easier for Brijit if they just did all of this stuff in-house.

And third---this one made me a little irritated---the editor left a lot of typos and blatant errors in the abstract! It was a basketball playoff, not a baseball playoff. (Do they even have playoffs in baseball? Don't they call it something else?) And the word "by" was misspelled as "my." What kind of editor let's this slip by???

I'm not saying that I am an almighty writer or anything like that. Because I'm not. I still have a lot to learn. But I'm a little disappointed that my name appears as the author of this abstract. After all, it's not really my work. I guess I should get used to this kind of stuff though. Life in the freelancing world...

Original Version
There's boxing. There's karate. And then there's Mixed Martial Arts. Called MMA for short, Mixed Martial Arts is a fusion of wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and boxing. A few years ago the entire sport—sometimes called human cockfighting—was deemed too violent and consequently banned from television. Yet MMA is rallying for a comeback. Last year a single MMA event made 28 million dollars. With new rules and regulations to ensure the safety of its fighters, the sport is recruiting fans and gaining popularity.

Edited Version
There's boxing. There's karate. And then there's Mixed Martial Arts, a fusion of wrestling, jiu-jitsu, and boxing. A few years ago the entire sport — derided my critics as little more than human cockfighting — was deemed too violent and banned from television. But as Pelley clearly shows, even working up a sweat himself, MMA is thriving: one broadcast even outdrew a baseball playoff game last fall, and a single 2006 pay-per-view event generated more than $28 million dollars in revenue. It turns out the key was removing the anything-goes factor: new rules and regulations to ensure the safety of its fighters has the sport making new fans... and money


  1. I still don't see why you are freelance writing when you could be stripping on a forklift.

  2. Or forklifting strippers...

  3. Okay, I may be a little biased, buut I think yours was better and stuck to the point better! Ah, well, at least it's a job, right?

  4. Brijit3:22 PM


    Hope you're well.

    The reason for the heavy editing on the Abstract in question is that your submission didn't include a qualitative judgment, and all Brijit Abstracts need to have a point of view beyond the summary of the underlying source. As people gain experience writing for Brijit, and get a better sense of what we're looking for, the level of editing generally decreases dramatically.

    We have editors in the first place because we believe that they're important to ensure the quality of the content we're producing. Over time, especially as we expand our coverage and produce hundreds of abstracts a day, we need to work in partnership with thousands of people like you to generate our content. We wouldn't want to do it ourselves even if we could -- part of the fun is creating new opportunities for smart readers and writers. We're glad to know that you find it easy to do, and hope that you'll continue to abstract for us.

    As for the typos, and the confusion over baseball/basketball, you're right. No good excuse for that. These errors have been corrected. In the future, please don't hesitate to email editorial-at-brijit-dot-com and let us know if you see a problem with one of your abstracts. We always appreciate the help.