How many people make a living off blogging? Turns out, there are just about as many bloggers as lawyers, and almost twice as many bloggers as firefighters. (Though we bet the lawyers are paid better.)
Mark Penn at the Wall Street Journal ran some numbers today and found that while 452,000 Americans claim blogging as their primary source of income, median pay is somewhere between $19,000 and $90,000. Not a very helpful range.
That’s all well and goodI certainly didn’t know that there were so many of my fellow scribes tapping away on the intertubes for money. But then Penn goes into tinfoil hat mode:
Are they considered journalists under shield laws? Are they subject to libel suits? Are there any limits to the opinions they churn out, or any standards to rein them in? Is there someone to complain to about false blogs or hidden conflicts? At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, Panasonic outfitted bloggers with free Panasonic equipment; did that affect their opinions about the companies they wrote about? There are more questions than answers about America’s Newest Profession.
It is hard to think of another job category that has grown so quickly and become such a force in society without having any tests, degrees, or regulation of virtually any kind.
Uh, hello, really? Remember when reporters like you didn’t go to j-school, but learned your craft on the job? Remember before journalism became “professionalized” how any hack with a typewriter and an attitude could become a newspaper correspondent? Come on, Penn, you know better.