Alacovska proceeds delicately through what is a very difficult and precarious rhetorical situation — that is, critiquing the shift that the travel writing industry is experiencing towards less experienced writers.
In the very beginning of the article Alacovska argues that the digitization of travel guidebook writing is a figurative “canary in the digital coalmine.” We’ve seen essays like this one pushed out plentifully by academics and creative professionals specifically in the last 15 years as the internet has become a mainstay of daily life. They range from truly credible and thoughtful critiques of changes in their field brought about by technology to outright gatekeeping from previously successful people in the space that just can’t keep up. Whether its meant to or not (and its probably not), Alacovska’s essay rhetorically evokes my frustration over the experience paradox every college student faces. I can’t get an job because I don’t have experience because I can’t get an job because I don’t have experience because I can’t get an job because I don’t have experience… So again, I wonder if this essay really is the well written, thoughtful critique of a shift to younger, less experienced, bright eyed aspiring travel writers that are in over their heads that I’m hopeful it is, or if it’s a mischaracterization of old-school travel writers’ troubles as fresh minds with new skill sets move into a space that was once theirs.
At the very least, this essay demands two things: healthy skepticism and more research… two things that should also never stop being demanded from travel writers.