While I’ve had this blog since April 2004, I’ve only been posting daily the last two months, after adding a site tracker in February. Today, according to the counter, I reached my 10,000th visitor, which should be some proud milestone, but I have the nagging feeling that it’s a marker of time wasted; actually, even worse — that blogs are helping to kill journalism, and more specifically my own career.
While there are some benefits to blogging, such as the minor fame — the roughly 100 fans that read the site every day, being stopped in a movie theater (“hey, aren’t you Anthony Kaufman, the indieWIRE blogger?”) — feeding the blog comes at the expense of paid gigs. (I don’t get paid for this, and I don’t know how anyone makes a living at it, unless it’s Daily Kos. Movie City News doesn’t have any ads. Does The Reeler get paid? Does Ray Pride? Dave Kehr?). For every moment that I spend blogging and trying to rope in an ad that will pay $20 per month (still haven’t gotten any), I’m not pitching stories to places that deliver a real paycheck. And for a freelance writer, this amounts to financial suicide.
People say: Don’t your blogs later turn into real stories? (Not really); Don’t your blogs keep you actively thinking about the industry? (No more than before); Doesn’t the blog give you a certain amount of notoriety? (Maybe, but is it the kind that I want?)
On a larger scale, as the media world contracts and as fewer and fewer outlets exist (witness the Village Voice/New Times merger), freelance writers are forced into the proliferating blogosphere — the new “poverty row” of the publishing world — and it’s not a financially viable model.
For the love of cinema and the free-flow-of-information, I wish I could just relax and not worry about money — and the blog could be a perfectly reasonable outlet for my thoughts. But some of us have to make a living.