Introducing Sponsored Connections

We are very excited to announce a new model of paid content that we’re calling Sponsored Connections

Most people consume sponsored content on a daily basis without even knowing it. Advertisers pay media companies to publish journalistic articles that seem to follow the editorial ethics and opinions of the outlet but are usually little more than an elaborate press release. 

The worst part of sponsored content is how enthusiastically it’s hidden. Disclaimers are often tiny, designed to be missed, or left out all together. Another pitfall of sponsored content is it’s typically only available to companies with huge budgets.

At Variable West, we’re dedicated to operational transparency, but we also need an operating budget. Enter: Sponsored Connections. 

To avoid any confusion about whose ideas you’re reading, Sponsored Connections will always be in interview format. We also want to extend the visibility of paid content to organizations that might not have a big (or any) marketing budget. That’s why each Sponsored Connection consists of pairings: The fee paid by one organization covers an interview with its representative and another interview with a representative from an organization with a smaller operating budget. 

Sponsored Connections offers us a way to embed community support in our advertising model, and we’re pretty excited about it. Check out our previously produced Sponsored Connections here

Interested in commissioning a Sponsored Connection of your own? Email partners@variablewest.com to learn more.

Justin Duyao sitting at a small wooden table on a beach in the late afternoon. Justin has brown hair, and has his elbow propped on the table with his head resting in his hand. He smiles at the camera.

Announcing Variable West’s Editorial Apprenticeship

Justin Duyao sitting at a small wooden table on a beach in the late afternoon. Justin has brown hair, and has his elbow propped on the table with his head resting in his hand. He smiles at the camera.

We are thrilled to announce that Justin Duyao is Variable West’s inaugural Editorial Apprentice for the spring 2021 semester.

Justin is a writer, editor, and student with a BA in English Literature from Harding University. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and is pursing an MA in Critical Studies from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. His interests include studies of consciousness, sociolinguistics, and gender.

The VW Editorial Apprenticeship is a semester-long paid program that allows emerging writers and editors to learn how an online journal works while expanding their art writing practice. In addition to assisting with daily tasks such as website and social media management, apprentices receive reading and writing assignments, participate in discussions, and will take ownership of Variable West’s Love Letters column.

Apprentices receive a stipend of $2,000. This year’s program is made possible through a collaboration with the MA in Critical Studies program at PNCA.