In the ever present battle to get your message out and be heard as a writer in the 21st century you have to rely a lot more on the medium of the moment; for writers right now that’s the online world. From online blogging to video posts to the instructional content of a website like ehow to citizen journalism which goes on at Associated Content, the method of the moment and the method of the future is the online world. In trying to capture the thrust of this moment it suddenly occurred to me; has the paradigm totally shifted? Do writers no longer aspire to places like the New Yorker or People Magazine in lieu of online blogging? Is the aspiration of the columnist to work for ESPN online rather than the Los Angeles Times or Chicago Tribune? Does the aspiring author want to have their e-book published for download on Kindle rather than the tightly clinched fists of Harper Collins? It’s a different world we live in than the one many of us grew up in; for this reason it’s important to stay hip to the times.
Blogging versus Magazine Writing: The biggest problem with online blogging versus the potential of working for a magazine is that the pay is virtually non-existent. You have to be pretty industrious or fairly pervasive as a blogger to get advertisers to pay you for their names to be affiliated with your blog. At the same time, the pool of available positions at any of these magazines hasn’t really grown all that much even if there are more specialized magazines out there on any variety of topics now than ever before. Blogging allows the creator complete control of the message they’re selling and the audience they’re trying to reach. That, and you, as the foreman in charge of the blog can choose to update your blog as often or infrequently as you’d like.
Virtual Columnist versus Newspaper Columnist: There is nothing like being a newspaper columnist. You get passes for the press box, you get to meet your favorite players; being a sports writer is probably a dream come true for the true sports fan. Especially for a bigger paper in a smaller market; working for them as their head sports writer is like being the biggest cat around. Still, virtual reporting from the likes of ESPN.com, MBL.com, and NFL.com (among others) has kept far more voices able to spout off about this or that. As a contributor to any of these sites you may be able to still take advantage of some of the perks and still be able to do your job and your fantasy football league in your bathrobe!
E-Reader Publishing versus Book Publishing: This is the place where the old may still be winning out over the new. While most of us have computers and a connection to the internet, not all of us have a Kindle, NOOK, i-Pad, or Sony Pocket Reader. This is also one spot where I feel people may never fully give in to the electronic gadget. You have to plug these things in, you have to ‘scroll’ (and who doesn’t have to scroll at work?) and you can’t just grab an e-reader and hit the beach or grab it out of your bag and read it on the train. I mean, I guess you can but the e-readers still aren’t as personal as an old, beat up paperback.
While the move to the digital from the paper and ink of print newspapers may be more and more ongoing, there still remains an entire industry for the digital media to conquer when it comes to books. We’ll see what comes next but for now, I’m turning my laptop off and I’m going to curl up with a good book.