If you're tired of Corporate America running your news media outlet - get over it! when you take that buyout (and far more than needed to took the recent rounds at the NJ Star Ledger, they needed 200 (more than a quarter) and they got 330 applications to take the buyout, which is roughly one half of the newsroom staff, according to the WSJ - Star-Ledger, L.A. Times Slice Costs Further) get used to the real world where you have to earn more than you spend, profits matter, ROI's matter, and so on, and so forth.
Very little. If your aspiration is to be the next Ida Tarbell, it ain't gonna happen in today's news media. It might on your own blog, but not in the mainstream media.
Everyone wants the next Pulitzer - right? Guess what? Profiteering journalists have been around since Joseph Pulitzer was one of two people that originated - by embodying it - yellow journalism:
From Wikipedia:Yes, friends, for-profit journalism has been around that long - in fact, likely much longer, and the holy grail of journalism - the Pulitzer, was fully endowed with profits - yes, profits - from yellow journalism.
The term originated during the Gilded Age with the circulation battles between Joseph Pulitzer's New York World and William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal. The battled peaked from 1895 to about 1898, and historical usage often refers specifically to this period. Both papers were accused by critics of sensationalizing the news in order to drive up circulation, although the newspapers did serious reporting as well.
The venerable Washington Post was sold at auction in a bankruptcy sale in 1933 by a member of the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors (sound familiar these days?), and just recently it was announced at the Washington Post Co's annual meeting that it was no longer a media company, it was an educational company, because of the majority of profits that came from places like their Kaplan testing and training services. Even for the Post - it was all about profits.
When you leave the safe cocoon of the staff world, where there is an alternate reality about what it costs to maintain a photographer, gear, computers, car, desk, software, support, health insurance, and so forth, you'll get smacked upside the head with the realities of the real world. We try to be helpful here and give you all the tools to make it, but you gotta apply those insights, not just shake your head and mutter under your breath - "yeah, I know, I gotta do something about that..." and keep doing the same unwise things you've been doing. SportsShooter has had two really interesting stories recently about this - Allen Murabayashi's "How To Fail As A Photographer", and Zach Honig's "Moving On: A Career Outside Photography", both about the harsh realities of being freelance.
For those of you with Tarbellian aspirations, build your own niche, try to attract a following, and either have a trust fund, or other profitable ventures to underwrite your venture. To date, the one outlet I have seen that really is making a go of it is Brian Storm's MediaStorm, where he's making a difference with his stories. But make no mistake, Brian's got staff payroll, and bills to pay. He's making a profit too.
Profit is not a four-letter word. Free, for credit only, we can't pay for photos, and lies of that ilk are far more offensive than many things that are defined as profane.
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