Sunday, June 26, 2005

Romenesko: Blogging for a living

According to the blogger at Mediacrity, the Poynter Institute's Jim Romenesko makes at least $152,163 US for his blog, making him the media education institute's top-paid employee.

That puts him in an elite club of bloggers who make enough money strictly from their blogs to live on.

Citing a post on's FishBowlDC blog, Mediacrity writes:

FishBowlDC points out one of Romenesko's shortcomings, which is that he has an "odd hatred of bloggers and loathes linking to blogs." That is certainly true, and I have a theory as to why that is--blogs very often beat the pants off of him, and bloggers are generally paid nothing.

By contrast, Romenesko is doing very nicely. Very nicely. In 2003, the most recent year for which IRS Form 990 figures are available for the Poynter Institute, he was paid the not inconsiderable sum of $152,163, plus $17,024 in benefits and deferred compensation. He was the highest paid employee of Poynter, as a matter of fact.

For the hordes of mathematically-challenged journalists out there, that comes to $169,187 US.

Stripping away Mediacrity's blatant political bias and apparent contempt -- or at least disdain -- for Romenesko and the media in general, it's still a noteworthy observation.

One of the vexing questions about blogging is: how does one make money doing it? Becoming a paid blogger, like Romenesko, is one way. But most who seek an income from their blogs seem to rely on ad revenue, selling merchandise, or using their blogs as a marketing tool to sell consulting or other services or products (including getting a book deal).

But if people in general and the media in particular stop regarding blogs as an Internet oddity and recognize them for what they are -- another format in the evolution of online information distribution -- maybe they can devote some of that energy to figuring out a viable business model that balances both the readers and their own financial needs in a way that doesn't sell out one for the other.

As for Mediacrity's complaints about Romenesko failing to mention a list of items mentioned at FishBowlDC, that's what the editorial process is about: being selective. Trying to characterize editorial judgement as a negative thing (unless it's clearly imbalanced) is, simply, ludicrous.

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