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Having a blog/business on the side of your full-time job

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Almost_Famous, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    I love this story from the well-regarded David Carr. Please note the last paragraph.


    A Sideline That Competes With a Byline
    Published: July 24, 2006

    OF all the journalists who wrote obits for the dot-com mania, few did it with the precision and quiet glee of Nina Munk, a former writer for Fortune. “Fools Rush In,” her brick-by-brick demolition of the ill-conceived AOL- Time Warner merger drew raves for its portrait of a company that got a little pixie dust in its eye and promptly lost its head.

    It is worth noting that at the same time, Ms. Munk was taking on a tiny AOL of her own. Urbanhound.com was a tidy little enterprise designed to help dog owners and their furry friends make their way through the wilds of New York City. After years of putt-putting along while Ms. Monk had two children, wrote her book, did articles as a contract writer for Vanity Fair and other publications, including The New York Times, urbanhound.com is now expanding to San Francisco and Chicago.

    Ms. Munk is a well-paid writer, a job she says that she loves and does not plan on leaving, but her entrepreneurial impulse seems more and more common. With the pages of their own newspapers and magazines full of articles about cutbacks, buyouts and consolidation, some reporters have stared down grim realities of the news business and decided that there may be opportunity amid all the mayhem.

    Content may or may not be king, but it’s mighty valuable. Journalists, who know a thing or two about its creation, are beginning to build sites that help them maintain custody of the content and, if all goes well, reap the rewards. Om Malik, a former writer for Business 2.0, has received backing for GigaOM.com, a technology news Web site that has broken a number of stories, and Rafat Ali, the former managing editor of The Silicon Alley Reporter, recently received funding for his company, which publishes PaidContent.org, a site that covers digital media news.

    “A lot of journalists are going to have to rethink what they are doing if they are going to survive,” said Mr. Ali. “If you stand back and do nothing, what are you going to do with the rest of your life? The newspaper you are working at could go away and then you won’t have a place to work.”
  2. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Well-Known Member

    It stands to reason that he'd say that, given his business self-interest.

    What newspapers are going away, exactly?

    The business model needs to be reworked but despite Mr. Chicken Little Ali's panicked bleating, newspaper companies aren't just going to start dropping dead.

    And would somebody please explain how Ms. Munk's dogs site competed with Fortune magazine? The headline on the story is inaccurate.
  3. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    Nice article, but it would have been 10 times as good if the Texans had drafted Reggie Bush.
  4. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    i think the idea was that newspapers are hacking jobs left and right (lengthy threads about this topic already on board), so to cover your ass, it's a bright idea to have something going on the side.

    A wise man once told me (and i think i've said this before): If you're not working on side projects while at your full-time job, you're not building any equity. And since raises are a joke in this industry (for 95% of us), it serves you well to have that extra $10-20k on the side.

    For me, it's vacation/invest money.
  5. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    Yeah, i found it interesting enough to bump it myself.
    I'm just saying guys ... you gotta look out for No. 1.
  6. lono

    lono Active Member

    No, but jobs are in deep decline, with layoffs and downsizings the norm these days at many papers, while others are replacing veterans with rookies who make half as much.


    In this day and age, if you are counting on a daily newspaper and a daily newspaper alone to provide for you and your family until retirement, you are taking a huge risk.
  7. Lollygaggers

    Lollygaggers Member

    So if you're a reporter or editor at a daily paper, and create a blog or website that does the same thing a newspaper does (distribute information), how can you get away with possibly breaking a story or giving out information before running it by the paper? If I'm the managing editor, I'm pissed if my metor writer posts a breaking story about some huge issue on their own site before it gets put on the paper's site. So pissed, I might fire them, meaning that extra $10-$20 K is not a supplement anymore, but all you're getting.
  8. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    When someone here makes money with a BLOG on the side, let us know.

    Probably should sticky this thread, so it's still accessible in 2029.
  9. Agreed. If you can make $10K-$20K on your blog, I'd like a PM and I'll buy dinner.
  10. lono

    lono Active Member

    I'm not saying you have to — or even should — do something that directly competes with your regular gig.

    At the last two newspapers I worked at, there were massive layoffs, pay cuts, benefit cuts, etc., and I finally got sick of hoping and praying one newspaper and one newspaper alone would sustain me.

    So I spent a long time trying to build up a healthy free-lance business on the side. My universe now includes daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, web sites, contract publishing, corporate work, books, ghost writing, broadcast media and, yes, even a blog.

    Obviously, some of it I do more than others, but I've tried my best to create an environment where I'm protected from the whims of a solitary employer, where a bad fiscal quarter because of a slack ad staff costs me my job. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.

    Do I work really hard? Yes. Do I have to juggle stuff to avoid conflicts? Sometimes. Do I sleep better at night? Hell, yes.
  11. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    so almost_famous, how does this differ from what bogie's doing by building a solid freelancing business? how is this any kind of revelation?

    anyone with a tangible skill who has a salary with a solid ceiling will be better off if he freelances. the mechanic who works at the toyota dealership can also pick up money fixing his neighbor's cars the same way the IT guy at your newspaper can place an ad on craigs list and fix personal computers. the graphic designer for XYZ corp can design stuff for clients on the side. and so on and so on.

    big deal. we all know this.
  12. Almost_Famous

    Almost_Famous Active Member

    bogie is a smart man.
    I'm just trying to help some people here who maintain that all is fine in the newspaper biz, and if you work hard, doggone it, you will make that leap from preps to pros without having to wait 10 yrs.

    if you cover preps, freelance college and pros. if you cover college, freelance pros (and outlets that won't affect your beat). you get the drift.

    how will anyone find out the blog is yours? You can do it anon. might take some time, but i almost guarantee you'll like it - no editors to reign you in, anything/anyone is fair game - and after a few months, make the move to ads.
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