November 11, 2009

Ca$hing out: Blogging for bucks not easy

This money stuff is so frustrating, so hard to understand, to decipher. I'm starting to think it might be part of the way I'm wired, a trait shared by others who once made journalism a big part of their lives.

I started the day reading a post "Tacky or not, here come the ads." I thought it was an unnecessary post, but the writer wanted to warn his audience he'll be promoting his books in his blog. I think there's no better place to post, to promote what you write then your own blog. Still it was interesting to read Joel Thurtell's struggles with other forms of advertising, a donation button and self censorship. The feelings center around what do you owe the person who is paying.

Then up pops up Jim MacMillan, a pretty smart guy/journalist/teacher, who shares what many are learning the hard way about blogging for bucks: It's not enough to blog, you need a plan.

MacMillan shares the insights he picked up at PhIJI, the Philadelphia Initiative for Journalism Innovation at Temple University in a a post Independent journalism – meet practical business practices

First, a confession from MacMillan:
"Until now, I had been both following and preaching the blogger’s if-you-build-it philosophy, which led me to only marginal monetization. I thought that if I had a sharp platform with worthwhile content, I needed only to develop and audience and the revenue would follow. I gathered followers, generated publicity and even some accolades, but I haven’t made a lot of money; barely a fraction of my previous newsroom paychecks."
Then, a quick summary of the presentations with these conclusions:
  • Business planning is like story planning: We must identify goals and stakeholders, consider scalability, and constantly evaluate and adapt. Next, journalism entrepreneurs need to learn to articulate and pitch a sustainable value proposition that makes sense.
  • Identify unmet needs, and find an audience that will pay someone or something to meet that need.
To stay up with the Temple University series, add to your bookmarks: I'd also suggest reading MacMillan as he struggles to figure out how to become an independent journalist with a paycheck big enough to cover what's necessary. His blog is Future of News.

I could send you off to some other blog posts about money or share some links of local journalism efforts, some grant funded and some hope funded. I could send you off to more posts on conferences or Tweets about reports about finding ways to pay for journalism, for journalists, for news. 

Would it matter?


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