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Any successful "independent web journalists" (bloggers)?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by BB Bobcat, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. BB Bobcat

    BB Bobcat Active Member

    I'm looking for people who have left the newspaper industry (voluntarily or otherwise) and used their contacts as sports journalists to start their own web sites/blogs, and have become succesful. By succesful, I don't mean "rich." I don't even necessarily mean that the web site has become a sole source of income. I think that's too much to ask. I guess I don't know what my definition of successful is, so I'd like to hear about if others have done it and how it's worked.

    Did you continue going to games, doing interviews and writing normal stories like you would for a paper? Or just sit on your couch and opine? Something in between? How did your colleagues still in the MSM and the teams treat you?

    I am trying to do this (in case you didn't guess). It's not so much a way to get rich, but just because I don't have anything else to do while looking for a real job, so I figured I'd launch it and see where it goes. At a minimum, I figure it keeps me "out there" so I don't simply get forgotten by everyone I've worked with (fellow writers and the teams). I've tried to "brand myself" as not-just-another blogger because I actually have contacts and credentials and such, and I've developed a nice little following, but not sure how big I can get or what good it would do me if I did.
  2. chigurdaddy

    chigurdaddy Guest

    Hey Bobcat,
    With the exceptions of Matt Drudge and Ariana Huffington, I don't believe there are many making much income from blogging (a popular blogger I read claims he made $20 last year). But there are other ways to gauge success, and I think if your goal is to keep yourself in the ballgame and develop a niche following that's definitely attainable and has value. What value? Who knows. This whole information business is the Wild West. It seems like everything we thought we were supposed to know is now supposedly useless. "Forget about writing good leads," someone recently told me. "Your next employer is going to be more interested in the video you shot." Personally, I think a lot of career advice people are spewing out these days is bad wisdom because the truth is nobody knows what the hell's going on. Anyway, good luck with your blog!
  3. Fredrick

    Fredrick Well-Known Member

    I think we know what is going on. Gannett is leading the way to go all Internet in the next year or so and staffs will be cut in half. People who have strong sports blogs should be able to effectively compete for ads with the newspapers and the shitty beat writers and columnists who stay in the Internet only world.
  4. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    Perhaps the best example out there, particularly in relation to sports?

    It has to be Dodger Thoughts, reported and written by Jon Weisman, a former L.A. Daily News sports writer, who, I think, still does some mainstream print work, at least on a freelance basis, for Variety magazine.

    Of course, as of this past week, he's no longer an independent blogger. His Dodger Thoughts blog is being picked up/linked to, etc., and he has been hired by, the L.A. Times, to continue the blog there, on the paper's site.

    This is a best-case success story for somebody whose already very popular and successful blog will be in a symbiotic relationship with a major mainstream-media newspaper.

    The paper will benefit (at least in terms of attracting clicks, unique users and readers) in a big way, and the blogger will, in turn, benefit from the connections and instant visibility and credibility created by being "at the L.A. Times" instead of "an independent blogger." And probably, he will be paid pretty well for his services, too.

    BB Bobcat, here is Weisman's send-off of himself from the big, black void of blogs, with a little background thrown in on his own start which I think you might find helpful/insightful.


    It's what you're looking for, I think.
  5. Josh Marshall is the best example I can think of who actually does original reporting.
    Arianna's pretty much a compiler of opinions -- and doesn't pay at all -- and Drudge is, well, let's not get into that.
  6. Contact Matt Cerrone at metsblog.com to learn how his blog became so successful. His blog became so popular, it's now part of the SNY network of blogs and Matt now works for SNY. At one point, he had Geico sponsoring the blog, though that could have been set up through a partnership with SNY. And I believe Matt's background was in PR.
  7. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    I stumble across Weisman very infrequently, usually only when LAObserved links to something. I have never seen anything compelling, anything newsy, anything that an "insider" would produce. It was just: The Dodgers are playing very well since Manny Ramirez joined the team. Or: There are rumblings in the clubhouse that Jeff Kent doesn't get along with his teammates."
  8. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    I don't think you have to put a Web journalist in the blogger category. Drudge is not a journalist by any stretch, he's just a linker. DailyKos and HuffPost would suffer without newspapers because no one wants to do the original reporting for free.
  9. Screwball

    Screwball Member

    SoCal Dude,

    Weisman doesn't pretend to be an "insider." His site succeeds on observation, analysis and a blessed absence of snark (snarkiness?). He still has his day job.

    BB Bobcat said he isn't sure how to define success. If success is "insider" stuff, then Weisman has not succeeded, and does not plan to. If success is creating a web community with so many commenters that the LA Times recruits him because his Dodger blog generated 100 times more hits (no exaggeration) than the LA Times Dodger blog, then he has succeeded.
  10. SoCalDude

    SoCalDude Active Member

    Maybe I shouldn't have weighed in here, because, like I said, I haven't seen it too often.
    It just seems to me that if you aren't giving anything or adding anything, what good is it?
    From what I saw, he wasn't providing anything different than what was in the game stories or what you can find out from watching or listening to the game. But if you say he's 100 times more popular than the Times' own writers/bloggers, then I guess he must have something going for him.
  11. Jim_Carty

    Jim_Carty Member

    Ives Galarcep was the Metrostars/Red Bulls soccer writer for the Bergen Record and North Jersey Herald & News before quitting to make a go of it on his own blog. He's done well enough to support himself and travel extensively for the blog, which appears to be thriving. A freelance contributor's gig to the .com probably helped bridge the initial gap.

  12. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    This may be so, SoCalDude.

    And yet, Weisman is now working for the L.A. Times, in some form, whether it be on a staff, contractor or regular freelance basis, while hundreds of Times people who have been let go over the past three years are not.

    This very well may be the future of sports writing, and journalism, in general, too.
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