Who’s hiring? Blogs.

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo on plans for 2009:

“So January will usher in a new Democratic Ascendancy in Washington. And here at TPM we believe we are uniquely qualified to chronicle it. So to that end we are hiring two new reporter-bloggers to be based in Washington, DC, one assigned to the White House and one assigned to Capitol Hill. The Obama White House and the expanded Democratic majorities on Capitol Hill are unquestionably the political story of the next two years. And with your help we plan to be there on the ground and and here in New York, covering it in force, fully, critically and down to the minute.”

TPM is often the argument-ender if you find yourself stuck in a blogs vs. journalism debate circa 2004.  It’s journalism; it’s original reporting; it’s profitable.

Oh, and it has 10 employees.  And they’re hiring reporters. Right now.

See also: Josh Marshall on the growth of Talking Points Memo and independent media

via E-Media Tidbits

Bought out? Laid off? TypePad has your bailout.

The TypePad Journalist Bailout Program:

Recently bought out, laid off, or otherwise relieved of your daily newspapering duties?  SixApart’s TypePad blog service is offering a free account that usualy costs money, advertising services, and promotion at Blogs.com.

“Your blog can act as a clip file for your best pieces, whether you’re looking for freelance work or a new full-time gig. You can link to your best past stories and even add back in those two or three grafs that your editor cut. Best of all, the first result for a Google search on your name will be an active, engaging blog, instead of a neglected LinkedIn page or a placeholder ‘coming soon’ site or your old articles from a publisher that doesn’t even pay you anymore.”

While I generally recommend WordPress.com for all your *free* blogging needs, this sounds a like a pretty good bailout plan if you’re looking for somewhere to publish and don’t know where to start.  Check it out if that’s you.

via @allaboutgeorge

Placeblogger: More human than ever

Check out the redesigned Placeblogger a 2007 Knight News Challenge winner.

The aggregation-by-location niche seems to be blowing up lately, especially as startups try to hitch their maps to the iPhone’s wagon, but Placeblogger feels like real live humans are writing blog posts in real live places.  I like that.

via the Knight Foundation Blog.

See also: Build your own local news application using Outside.In’s API

A short manifesto on local linkblogging

Brittney Gilbert blogs for a TV station in the Bay Area.  I’ve mentioned her before, and even though I’ve moved geographically far from her coverage area, I keep up with her tweets and various postings.

Today she writes: I am not a journalist.

While I disagree (the curator is a journalist and the journalist is a curator), she lays out the logic and opportunity for the local linkblogger:

“The Bay Area is crawling with people passionate about their communities. They have their feelers out, covering the legislature, watching their streets and otherwise covering the San Francisco-area like a blanket. In fact, there are so many awesome local bloggers out there breaking and reporting news that you need a human to point you to the best and most important stuff. This, my friends, is my job.”

Does your news organization have a dedicated linkblogger, or does your staff contribute to the task of curating the local Web?  If not, why not?

FEC elates strange bedfellows with political blogging ruling – ars technica

I’ve been following this thread for a few years now. The FEC has been getting this right for some time now, correctly positing that free speech is free speech, even when it’s political, and that speech doesn’t count as a political contribution. That seems pretty clear, but this ruling confirms it yet again. via @journerdism this time.

FEC elates strange bedfellows with political blogging ruling – ars technica

Dealing with the elephant: Incremental change

This is the second post in a short series I’m going to write about the business model for online news before I go back to my usual divisive blathering about how to avoid bureaucracy and feed trolls.  The starting point, the givens in the equation, are listed here.  Suggest what I should tackle next using the Skribit widget in the sidebar of my blog.

“Elephant Mud Frolic” by Intrepidation on Flickr.

If you read the post I wrote last week about building better business directories on news Web sites, you’ll notice a few things about the approach I’m taking to talking about the business model(s) for making money in online news:

  1. I’m not offering up some massive overhaul to the entire system of paid journalism at the moment, like taking newspapers non-profit, but there’s a lot to be said for that model, depending on how you feel about PBS or the BBC.
  2. What I’m making an attempt to focus on are incremental changes; ideally, these should be moves that can be put into action at your site quickly and effectively, without major staffing or organization overhauls, even though that might not be the worst idea.
  3. There are plenty of ideas floating around the Web that qualify as “little things” you can do to grow revenue on a news site, but I think somewhere in between the smallest things (like adding Google AdSense or other targeted text-link ads to all your ad positions) and the largest things (complete re-organization of the news industry), there’s a market for ideas that revolve around some of the medium-sized steps you can take to open new revenue streams that have little, if anything, to do with your print product.

For example, how about starting an ad network for local blogs?

It’s a simple equation:  Local bloggers have content; the local news organization has advertisers.  Keep it simple: Sell banner ad positions on the network as an upsell when an advertiser buys a spot on your news site.  “For $5 a month more, we can put your ad on a network of 25 local blogs with X average page views per month.”  Split the revenue with the bloggers 50/50 or come up with a formula based on page views.

Also, add a page featuring the latest headlines from the blog network to your news site.  For bonus points, keep an eye on that page and feature links to posts on relevant local blogs on article pages on a regular basis.  For super extra bonus points, throw up a Ning network for the local bloggers to give them a place to talk with each other directly.

So again, as with the business directory plan, you’ll find that running an ad network for local blogs involves the news and advertising sides of your organization actually communicating from time to time as you add new blogs to the network and award monthly revenue shares.

I’ve seen examples of local blog networks maintained by news organizations, and I’ve seen examples of advertising networks for higher traffic blogs, but has anyone tried what I’m pitching here?