LET ME DECLARE an interest. I like this book, because in chapter 10, Man Bites Dog: Reporters fire Newspapers there's an interview with yours truly, complete with a screenshot of the INQ and a picture of that Genevieve Bell from Intel Corporation.
Mike Magee was, according to this section, one of the original founders of the Rogister, and went on to start another online news publication which you're reading now.
This bit is followed up by an interview with Tom Foremski - the author awards him with being the first mainstream journalist to go bogging full time at Silicon Valley Watcher.
This book is a guide to how people can change the world by bogging, and it's pretty comprehensive. If everyone starts a bog when all six billion of us are online, there will be too much reading to do, that's for sure. But Bob Walsh, a former hack himself, steers you through these 330 pages and provides practical advice not only on what blogging software to use, but how to make money out of it, if money there is to be had.
Really, the key to making money out of blogs is to make them entertaining and informative enough that people will want to read'em. People call this "citizen journalism" these days - and for sure the WWW gives everyone the chance to produce a witty, readable, and attractive looking online publication that can beat the News Internationals up simply because the overheads are low and the potential is infinite. And the pixels are cheap.
Compare this to an old man's memory of what publishing was like only 35 years back. If you had a great idea for a magazine, you needed to find quite a bit of money and quite a lot of resources to get the thing off the ground. Then there was the problem of distribution - you could print off god knows how many copies of your bright idea but selling it was a totally different proposition. Even if it was a fantastic book, you were fighting against the odds if you managed to sell enough copies of whatever it was to break even. Then, for crying out loud, you had to buzz around and try and make your distributors pay.
Bob Walsh sees the whole picture very clearly. If you can afford the means of production and you've a good idea, there's really no obstacle to competing with mainstream press on any subject you want to write about. The INQ learned that last year when we published pictures of an exploding Dell in Japan and we were deluged with requests to reprint the pics we ran. Some of the mainstream press were good enough to give us a credit, although Fox News describing us as an obscure blog made us laugh quite a bit.
Foremski, in his interview in Clear Blogging, makes the very good point that he finds mainstream hacks to be a little bit timid. They obviously prefer to sit in their ivory towers and tippy tap through Google News to launch their breaking stories, rather than go it alone, like he did when he left the Financial Times.
And why do these journalists writing for the mainstream have more interesting stuff in their bogs than on their front pages? I think we should be told.
This book is highly recommended, and not just because the INQ gets a favourable write-up. If you really want to go it alone, this is an arsenal with enough ammo to get you started within a day or two without needing to find "angels" or plight your troth to vulture capitalists or publishers without a clue about 21st century publishing.
Intel anthropologist Genevieve, by the way, doesn't seem that keen these days on us using her photo.... ?
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