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Pioneering Wine Blogger Proclaims Blogging Dead

jamie_goodeJamie Goode considers himself a wine journalist. Few would argue. His writing, which is excellent, has appeared in newspapers and magazines. He has written books. He runs wineanorak.com, which he calls an online magazine. And one of the longest-lived active wine blogs on the internet is Goode’s wine anorak blog. This weekend he proclaimed, via Twitter and Facebook, “Blogging is dead!”

A true blog is an online journal with brief, sequentially-ordered entries sharing pictures, ideas or news. People who became prominent primarily through their blog were called bloggers. Now though, it’s common to refer to anyone publishing online as a blogger. Unfortunately, that label is limiting and has also taken on derisive, or at least dismissive, connotations.

Blogs themselves are rarely self-sustaining these days. In order to drive traffic, the blog publisher must utilize social media. He or she needs to leave comments on other blogs. Being published in print helps too. Some blog owners do weekly turns on radio shows. So successful “bloggers,” are also “social media posters,” “commenters,” “columnists,” and sometimes “radio personalities.”

As Goode went on to say in the same Tweet, “People now realize that a blog is just one of many communication tools. I blog, but I'm not a 'blogger'.” I agree. It’s time to get past the idea of “blogging” as either stigma or singular achievement. "Bloggers" are writers or communicators.

Marshall McLuhan’s phrase, “the medium is the message,” is oft-quoted. But, as with many catchy lines abstracted from their context, people tend to take it literally. McLuhan did not mean that a television is a message, nor a book, pamphlet or voice — or a blog. McLuhan's point was essentially that the medium alters the audience’s perception of the message. But, the medium is still a conveyance for that message.

Of course, the form of messages are often altered by their creator to better fit a particular medium. Word counts and voice change depending on the outlet. Is it a newspaper or magazine? Is it a feature, column or sidebar? This doesn’t change the core message nor the identity of the writer though. And we don’t call someone who frequently contributes sidebars a “sidebarist.”

Today, communicators have dozens of channels for publishing their messages. Labeling people based on any single medium they employ is outmoded and explains nothing. Likewise, people who rely on just one or two means of reaching an audience will wind up talking to themselves. Blogging is dead. Long live communicating!

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. Photo of Jamie Goode snatched from his Facebook page with the assumption he owns it and won't mind. All rights reserved.

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.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook. Also check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

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