Blogging (see the video) has dramatically altered the concept of news from a purely professional endeavor to a phenomenon considered both professional and personal. The blog allows anyone to be a reporter and publisher, facilitating different versions of news, often for free. The blogging platform has revolutionized the way we share news and ideas by creating a universal media outlet for various people to express their diverse interests. Popular blogs like The Huffington Post cover world news while TechCrunch shares insights on new technology and gadgets. Unlike newspapers, blogs have the remarkable freedom to be topic-specific or to cover a wide spectrum of issues. Most importantly, however, is the power of the blogging personality. In “Breaking News: I’m Paid to Blog,” we take a look into how the ambiguous “professional blogger” constitutes a career, why professional blogging is difficult to isolate from journalism, and what remains as blogging’s distinct advantage over traditional press.

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As students of Media, Culture & Communication, we are forever hearing our professors lament the “death of newspapers” and other traditional news forms. But with this “death” has come an entirely new life form that has gave way to a multitude of news sources on various platforms other than print media. The overarching term for this concept is most commonly known as online journalism. In exploring the various types of online journalism, the form that has emerged as the most interesting and popular recently is nonprofit online news organizations. While there are myriad nonprofit news organizations, our research has brought light two organizations that present new and innovative concepts in online journalism–Spot.us and Propublica.

Both websites are funded by The Knight Foundation which is a foundation dedicated to promoting journalism. Propublica is largely funded by former banker Herb Sandler who pledges $10 million annually to the site, as well as tax-deductible donations made by the public. In further examining these news organizations, we divided the two in an attempt to further delve into the inner workings of each organization, with myself further examining Spot.us, and Andrew examining Propublica.

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An article from the Wall Street Journal named “blogging” America’s Newest Profession. About 1.7 million people profit from blogging. From Clay Shirky, we learned that blogging is “mass amatuerization of publishing” but now some people’s full time job is blogging (i.e Perez Hilton). We will be focusing on the concept of “professional blogging” and “professional blogger.” Comparison between blogging professions and other forms of journalism. Some questions we will be exploring:

  • How professional blogging constitutes as a career
  • Are professional bloggers getting paid? how?
  • How “professional blogging” is reshaping the culture of online journalism?
  • Are “professional bloggers” considered journalists? What’s the difference? Do they have experience/knowledge in journalism?

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