I was walking around a Staples store yesterday afternoon, talking with David Sifry on the cell phone about what a shitty market there is for freelance journalism. It's a topic Paul Boutin brought up in a recent conversation, and which has been echoed by other journalistic Ronin I know. David and I were wondering out loud about the role of blogs in this development when a line popped into my head: Blogs are commodifying journalism.
By blogging for free, I wondered, am I undercutting the market for my own work?
Not yet, anyway.
If this is an insight (and I'm not sure it is), it's not an actionable one. The market is clearly still there.
As Tom Matrullo points out, Francisco Toro isn't so lucky. He recently decided he'd rather blog Caracas Chronicles, fighting for his causes and reporting with honesty and passion, than write in the voice of a detached observer as a stringer for the New York Times.
Meanwhile, as if to illustrate how complicated this all is, Sheila Lennon, another blogging professional journalist, continues to offer corrective reporting about what some are calling “The Lennon Incident.”
The beat goes on. And sometimes off.
I don't think blogs are usually journalism so much as they are commentary of sorts.