Six Apart News & Events

TypePad and Journalism

Over the weekend, I posted a simple web page on our TypePad site called the TypePad Journalist Bailout Program. I wrote it up with a lighthearted, snarky tone so a few old friends who recently lost their jobs as professional bloggers/journalists would understand what we could do at Six Apart to try to help them out. It seems like the program struck a nerve with thousands more of you, though — those first few friends have passed the link along, and in less than a day, hundreds of journalists have already signed up to participate.

In short, the program as described offers up a TypePad blog, a place in our Six Apart Media advertising program, promotion on Blogs.com, and a healthy dose of our expertise and insights into helping publishers and bloggers succeed online.

Reports From The Field

The Journalist Bailout program exists because we care about the future of journalism at Six Apart. I've worked at a newspaper, our CEO was founder of a magazine, and our staff across the company and around the world have worked in reporting, publishing, designing, maintaining and supporting journalism in print, in broadcast, and of course on the web in a variety of capacities. For years, I've followed pioneers like Jeff Jarvis and Jay Rosen who've being loud, sometimes strident, voices articulating a vision of how journalism will evolve. I've talked to working journalists in person at events put on by groups ranging from the Online News Association to Mediabistro. And perhaps most importantly I've talked to our customers who are succeeding in online journalism, at outlets ranging from the Huffington Post to the Washington Post, from small-town dailies to alt-weeklies to upstart blog networks to niche magazine publishers who are just making their first steps online.

These experiences showed me something I'd expected: A lot of people are thinking about how journalism is going to evolve online, and many people are passionate about making sure journalists make the leap.

What I hadn't fully expected was how gripping the stories from individual journalists have been. The mood of the emails we've gotten has ranged from hopeful to heartbreaking, from cynical to sincere. Overall, there's an optimism which indicates that having a starting point to do something proactive and positive will be a great first step for many journalists to take control of their careers in an industry that is going through enormous upheaval.

I know that journalists are a skeptical bunch, so I'm not trying to bullshit anyone: The TypePad Journalist Bailout Program is not a silver bullet. It's not going to singlehandedly preserve the career and income of every working journalist who has a job today. And frankly, the response has been so overwhelming that we won't be able to accept every application at first.

But what we can do is give journalists the tools to take control of their own presence online. This program will let a lot of the most eager writers and reporters learn the ropes about how to be more effective and successful on the web. That hope shows through in just some of the responses we've seen already:

  • "Thanks for coming up with such a smart solution to the journalist's dilemma! Hope we can work something out."
  • "You have no idea how many questions this answers for me that I never even quite understood how to pose."
  • "Dear Six Apart, thanks very much for your kind offer, glad you are getting such a great response. I've been thinking about starting my own blog, and this seems like a good and fun way to do it."

The Road Forward

Our first order of business is to tend to the dozens of people who have already submitted applications. It will take a few days to get personal replies to everyone who wants to participate, and our criteria of evaluation for membership in the program will have to expand a bit to accommodate everyone who's applied.

In the future, we want to reach out to the many media organizations we already work with to find ways to make this new wave of independent journalism sites more successful and more effective. We know that a vast amount of the good journalism being done today is happening within traditional media institutions, and we think there are plenty of ways for both media companies and independent journalists to support and complement each other's work.

Finally, we'll be asking the entire community for help in defining how these sites will grow, evolve and thrive in the future. So, if you haven't done so already, read up on the TypePad Journalist Bailout Program, see if it's right for you, and if it seems like we can provide the tools to help you move your journalism career forward, then sign up to join us.
18 Comments
November 19, 2008 9:07 PM

Anil, great thinking with this 'bailout' initiative. I want to help get the word out to the journalists of color organizations like the Asian American Journalists Association, South Asian Journalists Association and the groups representing Black, Latino, LGBT and Native American journalists.

I realize that the response to this has been overwhelming, but there's probably a lot of members of these groups who would be interested in participating. Many of the industry cutbacks hit journalists of color disparately; quite a number of papers have seen their minority journalist ranks decimated.

Wanted to just check in and connect to see if you had an idea on rolling this out to these groups in a way that wouldn't overburden your staff.

November 24, 2008 9:16 AM

Bill Densmore, a fellow at the journalism school at the University of Missouri in Columbia, is hosting a conference to brainstorm about "saving journalism" on Dec 3-5, 2008. I'm planning on attending and I thought some of the people reading this post might be interested too. I met Bill yesterday and he says the conference is open to anyone.

Here's a link to the conference home page with lots of information about the purpose of the conference and a list of who is attending:
http://densmore.newshare.com/wiki/index.php/Event-blueprint

February 28, 2009 8:49 AM

I think that Journalism on The Internet is a great thing for the whole world. We can see many blogs and sites pop up that provide excellent quality posts. Once again, Thanks for the Internet.

Mike

Devilfish said:
March 14, 2009 12:39 PM

I think anything that can help up and coming new journalists aswell as experienced ones is a great thing! :)

April 20, 2009 3:41 AM

The medium requires more than good writing and reporting skills. You also have to know how to network and promote your content, something about which many journalists are clueless.

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April 28, 2009 5:10 PM

Fierce online competition is making websites better through creating new forms of audience interaction via blogs and new styles of writing .

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April 29, 2009 5:49 AM

Gesture on behalf of those who've spent years/decades making there local newspapers .

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buckyuk said:
May 5, 2009 12:29 PM

Typepad is helping the journalism world no end. You should be proud of the difference you have made to many journalists.
Alan

May 19, 2009 7:28 PM

This can also become an opportunity for the advisor to teach the whole class about specific journalism strategies

May 21, 2009 2:10 PM

As a graduate of one of these courses, I learnt a hell of a lot that will stay with me no matter what media job I find myself working in - get careers advice


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July 21, 2009 10:13 PM

Like most other human activities, journalism is changing at exponential speed due to the rise of the Internet. Good writing and reporting skills are important, but mastering the new tools is also crucial. Thanks sixapart for contributing to that.

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October 5, 2009 11:00 PM

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Keep it going on.

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