99.999 per cent of bloggers have a day job...

99.999 per cent of bloggers have a day job...

Summary: Matt Richtel's New York Times article about the heavy stress of making a living as a blogger is not about the blogger life at all. It is about the life of a freelance journalist, which often sits at the bottom a very shallow barrel in terms of journalist compensation.

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Matt Richtel's New York Times article about the heavy stress of making a living as a blogger is not about the blogger life at all. It is about the life of a freelance journalist, which often sits at the bottom a very shallow barrel in terms of journalist compensation.

Russell Shaw, our much missed colleague on ZDNet, a telecommunications expert, wrote two blogs on ZDNet and had to augment his income by writing for Hotel & Motel Management.He also wrote a blog for AllBusiness.com, and the Huffington Post. Plus he was working on developing an Internet video show, and also writing on Corante.

If Mr Richtel had to make a living based on pageviews, he wouldn't make much of a living. I counted five articles by Matt Richtel for the entire month of March 2008.

The New York Times has yet to experience the full force of the huge change in the business model for journalism. It recently completed a skyscraper in mid-town New York. That'll probably be seen as the equivalent of Easter Island statues built by a society running out of resources and heading for history's dumpster.

What will pay for quality journalism? I don't know. The online business model for media can barely support a guy with a laptop in a single bedroom apartment, certainly not a guy with a laptop in a high rise in Manhattan.

How many ZDNet bloggers make a living from ZDNet? I would guess only two that aren't already employees of ZDNet. All the rest have day jobs or other means of support and that's the case for 99.999 per cent of bloggers. That's not a criticism of ZDNet, it's simply the economics of online media. That's why I love to use the phrase "You can't get there from here" when talking about mainstream media trying to move to the online world of newstream media.

Why do we do it? Because the joy of blogging is compensation enough. We can't stop...(true).

Topics: Browser, IT Employment

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5 comments
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  • Most people read ZDNet for the talkback...

    and not the outstanding journalism. Journalism used to be more about facts. But bloggers have turned it into opinions. And you know what they say about opinion. They are like a......., everyone has one. Plus most stink. With opinions so numerous, why should a blogger make a living blogging.

    Bloggers have seriously diluted professional journalism until it resembles anything but journalism.

    Get a real job, leave the news to real journalists, and let professionals in their industry dole out opinions about their industry.
    bjbrock
    • Fact or Opinion

      Points of fact (according to your post bjbrock) Professional journalism is about facts and blogs are about opinion. - My interpretation anyway and I disagree, I don't think there is much of a difference.

      Fact: Journalism & News is also based entirely on opinion.

      Fact: Journalists quote sources that can not be named but the sources are considered honest and factual because the Journalist says so (in his/her opinion). Is this Journalistic opinion or fact ?, and does this make these journalistic views factual as it reaches the news or is it opinionated because of it's essence ? - yet still makes the news. So is the News really factual or opinionated by journalists or those they speak to ?

      You asked why should bloggers make a living blogging, I ask why should journalists make a living doing the same thing through a different or sometimes the same medium ?. The truth is bloggers are reporters who do it out of love not money and are less inclined to make up crap to get more money - but may not be able to get all facts. - and there is the difference - Journalists are more likely to report lies to get cash (whether they've got the facts or not, if they have the facts they will ignore them for economical or job survival reasons) and are not really reporters of truths or even perceived truths - they just want the money or the job, and don't care how they get or maintain it (as a general rule).

      Bottom line is Journalism is a joke, it doesn't really have any heart. Blogging has heart.

      But like you said,
      "Get a real job, leave the news to real journalists, and let professionals in their industry dole out opinions about their industry."

      I take this to mean one of two things,

      - Journalists don't know anything until consulting with the professionals in their industry that dole out OPINIONS about their industry. - Which doesn't support your statement but makes sense, or

      - Journalists know the news and don't need professional or unprofessional "Opinions" to form the facts for them. - I guess you can explain that as they apparently know the facts.

      How do journalists & the News just know the facts better without basing it on any opinion ?
      Becksly
  • Online blogging means you can choose the agenda

    and that, over time, means that many more things get thrashed out.

    Bottom up beats Penelope and Rupert's top down agenda every time :-)
    fr0thy2
  • RE: 99.999 per cent of bloggers have a day job...

    Good comparison of bloggers to freelance journalists. A couple of minor differences: Freelance print journalists typically get paid more per piece, each of those pieces takes a lot more work than the typical blog post, and a print freelancer probably doesn't do nearly as many of them. I was a freelance print reporter for a couple of years, and it was pretty hard to do that and hold down a day job. My guess is that it's a lot easier to do that as a freelance blogger, even if bloggers do have to spend a lot more time at it in the evenings.

    And I didn't get the feeling that the NYT reporter was trying to say that freelance blogging was fundementally different from other freelancing or from any other high-stress job.
    bagglesby
  • Any one can write a blog, few can do good journalism

    Today's society tend to skew toward things that are easy to do immediately, instant gratification, and mediocrity. Blog amplifies that. On the top end of the quality curve, blog is good, but it's hard to make a living from it. Though it allow people to publish things that mainstream media wouldn't or neglect. I think it's better to view blog as a outlet of expression than a viable and reliable commerical vehicle to riches.

    Still, I'm willing to pay for serious journalism and that's why I pay to read MIT Review, The Economist, PC Magazine, etc. where the writers rely on providing quality articles to get published.
    idealab