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May 10, 2005
Maybe it's just the early days, but after taking apart some numbers that have been bandied about what bloggers are paid, Tristan Louis writes that bloggers don't make as much as journalists. At least on a per word basis.
But one more time, money doesn't seem to be the motivater for most bloggers right now. (Via Susan Mernit)
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Tracked on May 10, 2005 02:13 PM
"Tristan Louis writes that bloggers don't make as much as journalists. At least on a per word basis."
This is truly a poor metric to use to measure the pay of a journalist. Would you as a journalist request a raise based on the words you put out over a given year in comparison to your colleagues? Or would you use the quality of the work that you put out?
Posted by: Andy at May 10, 2005 02:09 PM
One reason why a good number of bloggers aren't that interested in pay might be because they're not doing it professionally. I know of a number of college students like myself (Me included) that blog as an outlet, and share it with those who share similar interests.
Posted by: Andrew Liptak at May 10, 2005 03:08 PM
I agree, this isn't perfect. But it is true that freelance journalists get paid on a per word basis and that's how they decide which stories to write and who to write for. (BTW, The New York Times is notirious for not paying a lot, if you care about inside baseball).
And at a magazine, your performance review does take into account how many stories you have done at what length--along with lots of other issues, like the impact of stories.
I think he's using it as a proxy, because that's all he has. It's not the only way to look at this, but it is one interesting way.
Posted by: Heather Green at May 10, 2005 04:17 PM
bloggers don't get paid as much as journalists online or off? I wonder what the differenc is for strictly online journalists(if they even exist)
Posted by: Hashim at May 10, 2005 06:11 PM
Part of my goal with the entry is to establish some baseline. As a former reporter and former freelance writer, I can definitely say that stories are the baseline for how one gets paid. Wordcounts are both the bane and the focus of many a freelance writer.
The challenge is in the fact that all the blogging efforts have been notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to how much writers are making so it's difficult to assess whether a blog career is as good an idea as a journalism one. I tried to provoke discussion in order to get some numbers. After all, if journalism writing (and 30 cents is not the bottom, I've seen, and turned down, much worse) is set at a base of let's say 25 cents per word and blogging is set at 5, then there may be a major difference in compensation, building to an argument that blogging may be a good starting point but not an end in itself in terms of career.
Posted by: Tristan Louis at May 10, 2005 06:18 PM
does this mean journalism students will now have a choice of careers? ink stained wretch ( no offense intended, Heather ) by day and paid blogger at night?
does this now provide an avenue for disgruntled print jounalists? "i don't need your editor crap anymore! i am starting a blog!"
will blogging branch out into other forms of writing vocation? frustrated screen writers can now use a blog to attract indy film makers after enduring big studio rejection.
you never know....as i always say, "the uses of blogs are only limited by our imaginations"...hmmm, wonder if i should trademark that....=]
Posted by: jbr at May 10, 2005 06:27 PM
Hashim, It's a good question. I don't know what the freelance fees are for online journalists, but typically full-time print journalists make more than online journalists.
But it's an interesting line to look into for the reason that Tristan says, to figure out, if its your fulltime job, which one makes sense. The top bloggers can definitely make it full time. And we're just at the beginning of this, so the payment is a moving target.
But absolutely, plenty of full-time establishment reporters that I know wonder if they could ditch their day jobs answering to editors, dealing with bureaucracy etc. and just head out on their own. The freedom is really appealing!
Posted by: Heather Green at May 10, 2005 06:51 PM
Anyone here read Clayton Christensen's "Innovator's Dilemma"? I think comparing journalists and bloggers on a 'pay per word' basis is the same kind of thinking that got the hard disk companies in trouble in Christensen's book. Blogs are a new technology threatening traditional print media from the 'low end', and the traditionalists who don't recognize this and find a way to adjust are going to go the same that the 8" floppy disk makers did.
Posted by: Dave at May 10, 2005 08:30 PM
A question to all the people who say this is a poor metric: Could you please provide a better one?
I've heard similar stories back in the early days of the commercial internet ("oh, business models online are different!") and many of the companies that were making that claim are no longer around. The ones that figured they still needed to apply old world approaches are the ones that survived. So, either blogs are similar to online journalism pubs or, if things are so radically different, the new business model is unclear, which could lead one to think that, as a business, blogs are headed for a fall (I'm trying to stir up controversy here ;) I personally believe there will be a business model, even if it's one that relies on the gullability of new writers as a way to lower costs)
Posted by: Tristan Louis at May 11, 2005 08:09 AM
I agree with you about the impact on blogs, which is something we have posted about here before. This is here to stay. Traditional journalism has to adapt. These discussion that Tristan started is on a different topic--what bloggers who want to make a living off off of this get paid.
Posted by: Heather Green at May 11, 2005 10:02 AM
Ah, but (as a journalist myself) consider that whatever I'm writing for a magazine will probably take a LOT more time than writing a typical a blog post, or even 20 typical blog posts. Few and far between are the publications that will let me write whatever I want, almost whenever I want it, in any style I want to. Blog posting is MUCH easier than traditional print writing. So per/word is probably not a good example in this case. What is? It's tough to say, since the pay-for-blogging thing is relatively new, and relatively few people are actually doing it. I'm not sure anyone needs a direct comparision (other than journalists who want to know out of pride).
Posted by: Blueblazer at May 13, 2005 02:00 AM
Tristan Louis; Your reference to 8" floppies made my grey hair tingle. But the analogy doesn't seem to fit. Blogging isn't new technology; it's a new use of existing technology, a statement which I believe the people who developed blogging software will agree with (unless they are software salespeople, in which case nothing is derivitive, everything is new).
My wife used to subscribe to the New York Times to read Tom Friedman's column. That's it. The rest was recycled.
Tom Friedman, when he first started out, used the brand strength of the New York Times to gain audience and instant credibility. From my wife's view, the Times uses Tom Friedman's brand strength to keep selling papers.
In the days of the soap box, those with a good voice and an understandable message attracted larger crowds than the weaker speakers. Blogs compare more favorably with soap boxes.
Have you looked at Google AdSense and the case studies for blogs? (Disclosure: I have no affiliation with Google, other than as my browser's home page.)
There was also a story on a Tampa teenager blogging about cell phones for $4k per month. Either http://www.sun-sentinel.com/ or www.palmbeachpost.com/. The buzz about highly focused blogs inside relevant big markets seems true.
Posted by: wm at May 14, 2005 08:08 PM
Well, At least if you feel the product deserves a mention, do it, otherwise,don't...or you'll lose yr readers.
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