If my last post was a bit gloomy, as Ashok was quick to point out, then this solution to current and future media job culls is anything but:
Sixapart, the company behind blog platforms Movable Type and Typepad (which this blog is hosted on), has created its own Typepad Journalist Bailout Programme (via journalism.co.uk)
"If you apply, you'll get a free TypePad account, membership of the Six Apart ads programme which shares revenue on ads on your blog, promotion on Blogs.com
and a bunch of vague benefits about being able to manage comments from
your phone and such like. I'm sure that will be very helpful in trying
to feed your family," says the estimable Jemima Kiss over at The Guardian.
I have to disagree with that wonderfully sarcastic last line of hers. Though blogging can hardly be said to be a quick fix, building a good reputation and a healthy a blog audience takes time, it can be a great indirect source of income.
I'd like to say that I had a well-thought out marketing plan when I set up this blog in 2005: I didn't. In fact, I didn't even set it up myself. A friend of mine got tired of me always blaming my deadlines and lack of time for not blogging and set it up for me with strict orders to get going. In the beginning, it was like a great white canvas I didn't quite know what to fill with, but within a few months I found myself blogging more and more about media and revealed myself to be a media junkie - a revelation that took me with as much surprise as everyone else.
Today, I can't think of any of my jobs and assignments, save a few translation gigs, that have not ultimately come through my blog. Even in my darkest hours as self-employed, when I've lacked the initiative to go out and get new sources of income, work has had a way of finding me - via my blog.
From my early blogging days it has been a great venture of serendipity, and a constant reminder that sometimes we try so hard to get to a certain place that we are blind to all the opportunities around us. In the beginning, I even tried to keep my blogging a secret as it was so far from perfect, and a rather scary venture to undertake because it went so much against my training as a journalist.
It didn't work of course, I think I was "found out" by Financial Times or Greenslade, perhaps via Andrew Grant-Adamson - but it has only created opportunities for me, sometimes despite of myself ( I'd do anything to promote an idea or a story I believe in, but am often rather uncomfortable with promoting myself. However, my blog does that for me - on my own terms).
At this point, I should perhaps admit, that in all my enthusiasm for social media, I made a prediction that didn't come through. In an op-ed for Dagens Naeringsliv, Norway's biggest financial daily, in February last year I said 2007 could become the year when Norwegian media really found its "blogging tone" (perhaps I should be grateful that this is such a prestigious place to write that all premium content, such as op-eds, only is available in Pdf behind a pay wall, hence the lack of a link).
Now, towards the end of 2008, it still hasn't happened, though, much to my delight, I see more and more Norwegian journalists and editors starting personal blogs. Will the looming recession be the famous watershed? I don't know, somehow I can't imagine the union implementing this particular bailout programme in its support schemes for journalists unexpectedly made redundant. But for Typepad it has been such a success that the free offer may end very soon...