Sep 26, 2012

Travel journalism junkets: are you getting the true picture?

Paid-for junkets for travel writers are increasingly a part of the business, editors tell Larry Schlesinger. But how does it colour the reviews we read?

In 2010 my wife and I, newly married and kids-free, embarked on a dream backpacking trip starting in Thailand and ending in the US (with Malaysia, Singapore, East and West Europe, Morocco, India, Egypt, Turkey and Mexico in between). When we returned to Australia, I was eager and hopeful of writing a few freelance travel pieces about some of the more exotic places we had visited for the travel sections of newspapers and magazines.

I submitted several story ideas and photographs but no editor would bite. I was disappointed but not entirely surprised, since I’d submitted what I thought were interesting ideas (a story about why tourists should visit my home town of Johannesburg was one) but had received polite “no thank you” responses.

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3 thoughts on “Travel journalism junkets: are you getting the true picture?

  1. puddleduck

    Neither response explains why they wouldn’t accept unsolicited travel articles. Surely that’s the ultimate freebie for newspapers – they didn’t even have to pay staff salary to write them while on a junket.

    I’m interested to know whether the media outlets receive anything additional to the cost of the flight/hotel/sundries, from the providers of these ‘famils’.

  2. zut alors

    I shy away from any recommendations in vested-interest travel articles and prefer the adventure of discovery. Besides, once a place is recommended in the popular press it will be over-run with other Aussies and that’s the last scenario I want when travelling overseas.

  3. tinydog

    It’s pointless to compare trip advisor with a paid-for review. You’d have to ask the journalists who wrote the review directly what their actual experience was.

    Travel “journalism” is not travel writing, nor is it a straightforward appraisal of a place such as you would find in a guidebook.

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