“Because your Tumblr and Tweets, while clever, will not pay your bills.” – the folks at SixApart.com, creators of TypePad.
Big blogs, little blogs, straight blogs, gay blogs… apparently, the economy has taken its toll on the viability of online journalism. Thankfully, we write about money here at Queercents. Traffic is up. I wonder why.
But traffic alone isn’t an indication of a healthy business. Believe you me. As example, take The New York Times… Just this week, I read the news that one of my favorite bloggers, Marci Alboher, keeper of its Shifting Careers column at NYTimes.com was laid off from her non-job:
Earlier this month I learned that The Times had decided to discontinue this blog. Suddenly, so many of the things I report and write about have been thrown right onto my own doorstep.
… the decision was made in response to the economic realities of the media industry, which is a polite way of saying that newspapers are in difficult financial shape.
I count Marci as a professional friend; inviting me to guest post, not once, but twice, and the only time my mother gave me an attagirl for my writing efforts. I’m sure it had more to do with seeing The New York Times logo two inches above my head than the quality of my guest posts… mom remains a hard sell with my queer content at Queercents. So thanks, Marci!
But admiration doesn’t pay the bills as Marci recently learned. And damn, that seems unfair.
Another site hit hard last week was OurChart.com. From the editor, Grace Moon:
According to the LGBT News site the Advocate.com, “word came down Friday afternoon that OurChart.com will be shutting off all content effective immediately. Editor Grace Moon notified the staff of contributors and bloggers via e-mail on Friday afternoon. Moon said in the e-mail that the entire staff had been let go and that Friday would be her last day.”
You gotta love it when personal messages become public. Yesterday, I did indeed send out a personal email to all of the contributors of OurChart to let them know of the abrupt termination of my employment and their contributions to OC.
Almost a year ago I was hired by OurChart to be its managing editor. At the time the site, which had begun as a social networking space, was moving towards creating a more robust editorial component. I had previously worked for six years in the trenches of print, creating and managing Velvetpark Magazine. Moving from print to digital was totally illuminating. I realized that online content is actually a cacophony of live conversations that echo across the interwebs like yodelers on the Alps.
Aside from some of our favorite online personalities being forced to shift to other gigs, the real story continues to be the economy. And writers are feeling the pinch. Perhaps, it’s a good time to pick up a copy of My So-Called Freelance Life by Michelle Goodman or take SixApart up on its TypePad Journalist Bailout Program:
Hello, recently-laid-off or fearful-of-layoffs journalist! We’re Six Apart (you know us as the nice folks who make Movable Type or TypePad, which maybe you used for blogging at your old newspaper or magazine) and we want to help you.
Click over quickly, since their offer will end long before the recession. Now back to the business of Queercents. In an email exchange with the Marci mentioned above, I was bemoaning these challenging times and she replied:
“I see the quandary with Queercents. Figuring out a sustainable revenue model for these content vehicles is quite the conundrum.”
I love any writer that can pack sentences with words like quandary and conundrum. It’s just a bummer that Queercents is smack dab in the middle of it. So while I’m not announcing any layoffs here – after all, we’re all thankless volunteers – please take this time to give your favorite Queercents contributor an attaboy or attagirl or attaqueer as we prepare for our short Thanksgiving break. They all love comments. Yours truly, included.
Happy Recession. We’re all in this together!
Photo credit: stock.xchng.