Monday, June 26, 2006

Time to get pragmatic

As I posted recently on my personal blog, the field of commercial blogging is growing exponentially, and bloggers are increasingly being viewed as 'content providers', much as television has always been a content provision exercise that delivers audiences for advertisers. As I've argued, the trouble begins when bloggers aren't adequately recognised and remunerated, and I see syndication agencies such as ScooptWords as a dangerous development.

This is because they notice and exploit a culture in blogging in which bloggers are amateurs who are not equipped or not inclined to deal personally with editors wishing to republish their work. Indeed, new business ventures driven by the growth in so-called "citizen journalism" rely on an amateurised (as opposed to a professionalised) market of "content providers" who are willing to provide their work anonymously and to have it edited with impunity. All because they are happy just to see their words in print, under the aegis of a 'respectable' media masthead.

I argue that this is a patronising attitude. It may work for some people for whom blogging is a hobby. Indeed, I run a number of personal blogs for which I wouldn't expect to get paid. But as a working journalist and cultural critic, I would like to earn a living from my research, my innovative ideas, my authoritatively argued opinions and my analytical abilities. These are my tools of trade. And I believe that bloggers writing this sort of material should learn to put a dollar value on the work they publish.

This is why I am adding this button to my sidebar. I'll keep posting here for free, but I will ask for a reasonable pay rate if any editors should be interested either in republishing my posts or in commissioning stories from me. I believe that if enough bloggers are polite but firm about this, there is no reason that bloggers can't be content providers. And this more equal industrial relationship ought to be the future of online content provision.


Danielle said...

Hear hear. It's time to start taking these "partnership" ventures more seriously - especially when others will be profiting from your content without offering "compensation".

Call me old fashioned but I believe a link is about good content and one does not cutXpaste great swathes of content without offering something in return.

Blogging should always be free to read but the time has come for bloggers to read the fine print, and acknowledge that if our republished content is making money for other parties then we need to be compensated.

By the way your site is nice and chunky food for thought and well worth a link and further perusal.

Rebecca said...

Hi! I got here via Danielle's blog and, well, being the rank amateur that I am, will have to think this through.

Thanks for giving me something to think about.

Now I'm off to look around your blog somemore.