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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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October 2, 2007 8:57 AM

An off-topic nod to one who blogs for free

Posted by David Postman

This summer I read a great take-down of the voodoo economics of Web 2.0 by Philip Dawdy, a former Seattle Weekly writer. He now writes a blog about mental health issues, Furious Seasons, and was responding in June to an invitation from a Seattle company to write for its new site. For free. Dawdy responded with a post titled, "Content creators starve while techies eat free lunches."

Meanwhile, the people who actually create the content in the media world — here comes that word the Web 2.0 dorks really hate: reporters — are getting pushed out of their jobs in numbers that can't have been around since TV started sticking it to newspapers in the 1950s. And where they aren't losing their jobs, they are discouraged and running scared and concerned about how they will make ends meet in a post-print world — because that's where the economics of the game are pushing the information space ship — and puzzled about how it is exactly enough people will be able to be employed to undertake the professional task of producing precisely the content and the depth of content the Web 2.0 entrepreneurs need in order to push varied content around enough in their big old electronic library of mankind for them to become as rich as oil sheiks. And gift their employees three squares each workday, gratis.

As Dawdy pointed out, "no one will do for free the kind of journalism the Web 2.0 crowd thinks it's creating."

Journalism costs money. If you're talking investigative reporting, it'll cost more especially if there are loads of public records and lawyers at the party. If you just want to slap content around that sort of sounds like it's floating around the truth in the half-informed commentary that the blogosphere is heir to — instead of being able to legitimately offer said truth — then I guess you can get it for free. But I'm not blogging for free for someone else. I can do that for myself quite nicely.

And he has, paying the bills with freelance work during the day and tackling Furious Seasons after hours. But now Dawdy wants to work on his blog full time and is asking his readers to help him raise $6,000 to pay him for three months of work.

Basically, I want you to hire me.

I'm glad to see Dawdy is going directly to his readers. I gave a little bit because I appreciate the work he puts into the blog and, I must say, his defense of content providers. If you have any interest in the issues Dawdy writes about, the blog is worth a read.

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