I know, not much of anything lately. Here’s the deal: as I noted on my personal page the other day, things are looking increasingly grim in the newspaper biz. While I’m not convinced people’s urge to be informed about what’s happening in their towns and neighborhoods has vanished, the financial footing for getting news to them is rapidly eroding. Newspaper readers are getting old and they aren’t being replaced by new generations of newspaper readers. Advertisers know this — the young and foolish are loosest with their cash — so they’ve begun to shun print across the board.
So this is the deal: I have to be very choosy about how I invest my spare time over the next several months. I need to spend the lion’s share of my time figuring out how to make a living if my job goes away.
I love you guys dearly but the only way my time invested in this blog pays off is if every one of you pays me a dollar every time you stop in. Then I’d have to really work on coming up with a stream of good content, and I want this to be fun, not work.
I still plan to go on hikes and post pictures and write-ups when I get home, but I’m not sure how much more than that I’ll be able to do. The good news is that an impressive crop of hiking bloggers has sprung up around the Bay Area in the past few years, so there are ample opportunities to get your hiking-blogging needs fulfilled at other sites.
If you’re curious about the new blog I’m starting, which actually has pay-the-rent potential, click away.
Newspaper is tough! I was laid off from The San Francisco Examiner in November after 7 1/2 years. Unfortunately the younger gens expect “content” for free like music or news or tv or movies… and unless readers (the younger generation) suddenly realize that paying for content is a good thing, “newspapers” (whether delivered online or in print) are going to struggle. Advertising as the sole method of income just won’t cut it. Well that’s my opinion anyway… I’ll get off of my soup box.
Niche blogs targeting a specific audience have potential, but you need about 20 thousand readers to make it work.
My new blog targets a very specific audience of about 100,000 people, each of whom has a financial motive to visit the page every day. Not all of them will, of course, but if I can get a tenth of them, I’m in business.
My checks in the mail, Tom…
You and I are in the same boat right now. This gig may end at any time, but…I’ll have more time to write, right?
Which leads me to this – you have no small amount of talent as a writer yourself. Turn those South Bay hikes into a local guide. Bring the finished product to Wilderness Press in Berkeley. With your blog rep and field cred a guide with your byline would be sought by many.
As for me, I’ll be on Nike’s doorstep, trying to convince them to let me be in one of their “Just Do It” commercials, covered in mud and sweat on Mt. Diablo.
Bob: my hunch is the WP route would pay less than my Google ads, which generate about $500 a year.
Things are pretty slow all over, tho newspapers seem to have encountered a perfect storm of demographic shifts, technology shifts, and a economy driven general collapse in advertising. Its going to be interesting to see what business model emerges from the wreckage of all of this.
More time for hiking next year at least 🙂
I wish I had more time for hiking, but then maybe I should be careful what I wish for. My own employer surprised us a couple of weeks ago with 15% layoffs. I survived but my immediate manager didn’t. That was a hard one to take as in 30 years of working, he was the best manager I ever had. And now with him gone, I’m struggling big time to fill the gaps. And to make matters worse, they cut the number of people, but they didn’t cut the projects or products. So now fewer people have to do the same work. Yeah, it’s going to be real interesting seeing what emerges from the wreck of all this in ever business quarter. And if there are more layoffs in 6 months, dollars to donuts I get hit too. Then I’ll really have more time for hiking. Anyway, hang in there Tom, were all rooting for you here.
Best of luck on the new venture, Tom. My grandfather was a steel worker in Decatur, IL and my uncle retired from CAT, as a welder.
I have been subscribing to a newspaper for as long as I remember. My parents always did, and reading the newspaper in the morning along with my cup of coffee is a ritual I have no intention of giving up. However, having just turned 40, I understand that I’ve become that older generation. 🙂
Between Craigslist sucking up the ads dollar, free online publications sucking up readers, the newspaper landscape is going to be ugly for years to come. A few will survive, but that’s still going to affect a lot of good folks. Good luck with the Cat blog.
Making money off a blog is a somewhat unpredictable and often not profitable given the opportunity cost of the time. There are so many factors but good content can pay for years. I have a single page on one of my websites that consistently gets 25k visitors/year, but I haven’t done anything with that website for a few years. It’s just highly targeted and great content. Good luck with your new site.
Thanks for all your efforts on behalf of us ground-pounders. As for change, well, we all have to do what we have to do, so no worries.
I look forward to your continuing adventures and wish you the very best in all your future endeavors.
Again, thanks to you from all of us.
The problem with newspapers is they stopped reporting the news and journalists stopped being journalists. Had the newspapers not felt the need to to go off the deep end and show there political bias, most newspapers would be doing very well.
Sorry to hear that your job might be in jeopardy, personally I think you have a good future online, a lot of newspaper folks are doing pretty good starting there own sites.