Thursday, July 22, 2010

Favorite travel tips: How to get high in Holland!

Critics rap news stories from "content farms" such as Demand Media for being no-duh crap. (Example: How to spend long airport layovers? Eat. Read. Sleep on the floor.)

But not so with one of the more detailed travel tips published by USA Today: Amsterdam Smoking Tips.

In Holland's famously libertine city, it says, marijuana has been decriminalized: "Amsterdam's pot salons cater mostly to visitors but feature knowledgeable staff, a comfortable environment and an impressive variety of herbal indulgences."

Sales clerks are friendly, we learn: "Almost everyone speaks English, and they can steer you toward your ideal high. Hash is in brick form, made from the concentrated 'sticky crystals' of the marijuana plant."

But go easy on those pot brownies! "It can take awhile for edible goods to kick in, so don't scarf down three because you don't feel it right away."

Related: How to circumvent American law on travel to Cuba


  1. appalling...

  2. 1:53 why? It's legal there.

  3. Not so much the legality/illegality of this. But, it's appalling that this newspaper can find nothing better to write about. People ask me why USA Today doesn't have a future, it's because you wouldn't see this kind of low-brow journalistic pandering in other national papers like the Washington Post, New York Times, or Wall Street Journal.

  4. I don't know whether USAT editors even knew this tip existed. Here's why. Demand Media produces tons of these travel tips -- so many, USAT editors can't know about each one.

    Search for a subject -- I chose marijuana -- and you dip into a giant database of articles. Once called up, they're displayed on the paper's travel page in such a way that it looks like USAT's editors have read and OK'd it in advance.

  5. Perhaps they should also post tips on reducing your likelihood of arrest while picking up a hooker. Gannett doesn't care about journalism. It cares about traffic. Online that comes through pandering and writing about whatever people will click on.

  6. As a true journalist who briefly was farmhand at the the Demand Media Content Farm, I cannot believe either USAT or Demand Media allows this kind of content. What an embarrassment to everyone involved.

    As a "chosen one" for the Demand Media partnership, I'm glad I NEVER wrote a thing for USAT.

    But just a heads up ... Demand Media is scraping the bottom of the barrel to keep the Travel Tips supplied. Demand Studios now is submitting content from its eHow site, which is the ultimate content farm joke.

    7/23/2010 3:38 AM

  7. Jim, you defined the problem perfectly. USAT editors don't review and OK material before it's posted. As a result, items that never would make the print edition are online under the USAT name. Readers don't differentiate between staff stories and puppy mill garbage produced by the likes of Demand Media, so the USAT brand is tainted. It amazes me that an organization that (believe it or not) once valued quality now prizes volume above all else.

  8. Can they offer how tips on how to blaze up in the big shiny? Might make it tolerable.

  9. @10:28 I'll meet you in the First Amendment Dining Room in 10 minutes, it's usually quiet down there :-)

  10. Jim: Here's some other keywords and phrases I think you should search for, and see if anything laughable pops up at USAT:
    1) leadership
    2) labor unions
    3) ethics
    4) corporate greed
    and my best:
    5) failing industries


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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