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Can You Monetize Journalism?

A recurring question among wine bloggers is, “How can I monetize my blog?” When the snickers die down, there’s usually a long silence followed by slow, solemn shaking of heads.

Yesterday, I re-stumbled across an article by Joe Roberts, aka 1WineDude, wherein he explains why monetizing a wine blog to the extent that you make worthwhile sums solely by selling ads and stuff is... highly unlikely. You should read the post, but here’s the gist: not enough people read wine blogs and you don’t post 10+ times a day like highly successful bloggers. True that. So, sorry.

But Joe does mention ways to leverage your blog and skills to make money by other means. One of those is “landing writing gigs.” It’s true that you can get half-way decent money for freelance articles; $250 here, $1,000 there. You’ll need a lot of those to pay the bills, but it’s a start. You can also self-publish books.

What about turning your blog hobby into a full-time position as a journalist though? Well, the University of Georgia has just released their 2010 Annual Survey of Journalism. (Man, it’s August, 2011 and they’re just now releasing a 2010 survey? Fox News would have had that thing out before they even got responses to the survey!) Anyway, the survey asked questions of recent journalism grads with respect to employment, salary, etc.

To summarize:

  • Roughly 50% of Spring 2010 BA recipients in journalism or mass communications had landed full-time gigs within 6 months. That’s a slight increase over the 2009 graduates.
  • Progress! 68.5% of the graduates got at least one job offer. That’s up from 61.9% in 2009 but down from 82.4% in 2000.
  • Masters Degree recipients do better than those with only undergrad degrees.
  • The hire rate for women is higher than for men.
  • The rate for racial/ethnic minorities is much less than that of non-minorities. The minority gap for 2010 was the largest in the history of their survey.
  • Salaries and benefits haven’t improved over the last five years. At all. No adjustment for inflation either.
  • The median salary for those 2010 graduates who got a full-time job is $30,000
  • A lot of the jobs aren’t in journalism per se. Advertising, PR, designing/building web sites, etc. are included.

There’s a lot of good info in the study, including breakdowns by media type, region, etc. If you're at all interested in being a journalist, check it out. If you're a wine blogger thinking about making a jump to full-time paid journalist though, it might be time for Plan C.

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This article is original to Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.