Yet Another First Post

Like most people, I usually struggle with my introductions when writing. I suppose the first post of a blog is no different, so let me just lay out a couple of things to get started.

First, I know from experience I’m not a frequent blog poster. In my previous blogging attempts I think I’ve managed about 50 updates over the past decade and change (I’m going to count updating my .plan as blogging, because that was the state of the art at the time.) I expect to be better this time around, in part because I have more to say, in part because I have a regular schedule to keep, and in part because the tools are better.

Second, this blog is meant to be an archival home for things I write, and is not where I expect most people to read them. Certainly, some things will only be found here, but wherever possible I want to write at other sites. I’m fortunate enough to be able to occasionally write with the Badger Herald, and I’d really rather people read my stuff there.

For me, writing for the BH is a hobby, not a profession. As evidenced by this post, I’m never going to make my living from writing. That’s true of most bloggers, too. So, for me, it’s important to keep the BH strong (and the Daily Cardinal, and the WSJ/Cap Times, and anything else that has a news room.) Without the news side of the business, the opinion writers and hobbyist bloggers are screwed.

I’m not yet ready to count on citizen bloggers being able to carry all of the news-gathering responsibilities we expect from our local journalists. Societies flourished when they embraced division of labor, and it turns out that news journalism is hard. Not impossibly hard, mind you, but we’re better off because we have people who are able to spend all of their professional time in the news business. It’s like working on cars. I’m glad that I’ve got the freedom to tinker with my car whenever I want to, but I’m even happier that the market is able to support some people who can solve my car problems when I or my friends and neighbors don’t have the time or experience to do so ourselves.

Of course, the same thing can be said about bloggers. Blogging may have leveled the publishing field, but it’s still difficult to be a decent blogger. I don’t think enough of the new-media versus old-media analysis pays enough attention to the similarities between the two. Chiefly, it takes a ton of time to keep up a site that gets regular traffic, and isn’t just read when there’s nothing else in the RSS reader . Where Brenda or the Critical Badger find the time, I don’t know. A professional journalist spends their day working on stories, developing contacts and relationships, and responding to readers. That also takes a ton of time, but the journalist gets paid to do it.  When your only compensation is your own satisfaction, it’s understandable when people walk away.

Admittedly, my motivation for keeping news sites going is different than the public at large, who just want the news for free. I have no great insight into what’s going to save the news business.  I’m not delusional enough to think that my short essays every other week actually drive much traffic to the BH or make a difference to the bottom line. Some of what I will wind up writing will be on things the Herald doesn’t want to cover and will only ever be on this site. But, whenever possible, I’m going to prefer to that it appear there first. That’s one small thing I can do to keep old media relevant in a new media world.  I hope other bloggers think at least a little bit about how they can best preserve the commons.


4 comments so far

  1. Valeria on

    That’s cleared my thoughts. Thanks for cobittnuring.

  2. on

    Super informative writing; keep it up.

  3. Hesham on

    Dear Sir,jivan ek geet ahe,Ganare sagalech ahe pan,sukh kasha madhe asta ? ya prcahnsahe ekach shabdat uttar ahe… samadhanat ! keshav tharat yani yogya dilele ahe sukh he phoolat, phalat, mansat,kontyahi gostit ahe.pan hi gost manane kabul keli pahije! Mag sagalikade shantateche vatavaran rahin.Regard Amol Shinde

  4. I love reading these articles because they’re short but informative.

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