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Blogging for more than just dollars

The results are in, and they sure ain't pretty: Andrew Sullivan, $79,020; Me, $10. But I'll be back — I'll get you next year, Sullivan!

Actually, Sullivan's total haul (from some 3,339 people, he said) is big enough to be interesting, especially coming so soon after webloggers were credited in more than a few places for Trent Lott's eventually (he just stepped down today) resigning as Senate Majority Leader.

This is the stuff every journalist dreams of — breaking the big story his or her editor (and everyone else) says isn't worth pursuing; getting not only read but even publicly acknowledged by those great luminaries at the Times; and (finally!) earning a decent wage besides. There've got to be more than a few writers stroking their chins and rubbing their hands right about now, imagining what a snazzy new website of their own could do for their careers.

It'll be interesting to see what happens. Most journalists will be leery of losing the credibility of writing for a known publication, but they may give it a shot anyway if they think they can get their work acknowledged by other, credible publications. (Josh Marshall's credibility certainly doesn't seem to be in doubt, for instance.) And opinion writers don't have to worry about credibility in the first place; their only concern is finding readers — and there's nothing like a plug on the opinion pages of the Times for getting readers, you know.

Economists believe the workforce is moving toward larger and larger numbers of independent, self-employed workers. Journalism now seems to have both a tool and a (somewhat) proven model for evolving in that direction, too.

December 20, 2002 2:13 PM

Comments (and TrackBacks)

Although I agree with your analysis, it should be added that for those writing in big media who go on to maintain a blog, one of the big letdowns is the relatively small number of readers. These tend to be more responsive and loyal but they can constitute a fairly small group and become quite stifling.

I've written a weekly column for almost 25 years and recently started a blog - first paid and now independent - and still think writing for a newspaper is more rewarding and "freer" in the sense you don't really have to listen to anyone except your editor and the distant readers who write in.

All the best, Matt!


Posted by Miguel Esteves Cardoso on December 21, 2002 2:14 AM

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