Editors, Reporters, Conventional Media -> New Jobs Bloggers

Hi Friends,

Stacy and I went to the The Stanford Daily alumni dinner tonight following another Stanford loss to Cal (congrats RS). Thanks to Elna Tymes, whose son Adrian was one of the programmers at FindLaw, did a great job putting together the dinner.

As for the dinner talks, after going through the editorial and business metrics at the paper (happy to report that things are looking good :), former Knight Ridder columnist, book author and blogger Joanne Jacobs gave a talk on… blogs.

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While I have heard speeches about blogs many many times, it was interesting to hear first hand from a former media connected writer about her experiences and thoughts. Especially since she left the Mercury News to work on her book, freelance and blog.

    A few selected notes from her talk:

  • Joanne saw blogs as being great for the readers and the bloggers. She especially liked the speed in which bloggers comment on the events of the day (and mentioned The Volokh Conspiracy and Instapundit as examples). She noted how lawyer are very active bloggers
  • Joanne thought that not being part of the conventional media did not necessarily make bloggers less trustworthy. But that without an formalized media brand, it did require individual bloggers to build up the trust over time.
  • Joanne talked a lot about the blogging community and how they help each other. This is similar to the statements made by Ernie the Attorney in last week’s BlawgThink.
  • Joanne said that blogs were a great place for someone to show or develop their expertise (see any of the many posts by Kevin O’Keefe on this :).
  • She did not see blogging as a business model in itself, at least right now. While a few bloggers seemed to be able to make money, most hardly made anything (eg. click on the donation button, Google ad or Amazon referrals are not making a normal print writer/editor’s salary).
  • Joanne felt that her blog and the blogosphere was a great place to promote her book: Our School : The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea, and the School That Beat the Odds (I have used Joanne’s Amazon code should you click on that link and buy the book 🙂 She also asked the editors from some of the nations large papers that were there to review her book… like the Wall Street Journal did… here is the book review by the Wall Street Journal.

As we watch Knight Ridder try to explore of strategic alternatives it will be interesting to see not just what happens to the papers, but also to the reporters and editors. I myself no longer subscribe to any print newspapers (I used to subscribe to the SJ Merc, WSJ and NY Times, now my only subscriptions are RSS feeds) and supplement my main news sites (CNN.com, NYTimes.com, WSJ.com, SJMercury.com with Google RSS alerts on different keyword phrases and the headlines from a 20 or so blogs of various editor/writer/colunists (in particular Bob Ambrogi, whose LawSites turned 3 on Saturday and Dan Gillmor) and about 150 or so information blogs (BeSpacific, ResourceShelf etc… etc…).

My guess is that most of the current Stanford Daily students are going to have a tougher time finding media jobs than their predecessors unless they are really good bloggers AND can find a business model… OR law school OR maybe Yahoo! (Read Dan Gilmor’s post on Wall Street and Journalists and… Yahoo!).

Peace – Tim

iTunes :: Pocahontas, Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young