The Professionalization of the Blogosphere

THE PROFESSIONALIZATION OF THE BLOGOSPHERE….Markos Moulitsas, at the end of a post about his advertising policy at Daily Kos, concludes with a teaser:

I’m not afraid of money, and I’m putting it to good use ? the abandonment of Scoop and a massive ground-up redevelopment of Daily Kos to be the ultimate blogging platform in the world, and the establishment of a corps of “fellows” to do great activism.

More details on those projects will emerge in December, but bottom line is that I won’t cry if Chevron or anyone else wants to help fund the rise of a professional netroots activist class.

We’ll have to wait and see what he means by this, but I think it’s probably a bellwether for the future of the political blogosphere: the end of the amateur era and the rise of the professionals.

For the last year or so, whenever someone asks me for a comment about the future of blogging, I suggest that the biggest underreported trend in the blogosphere is professionalization. This can develop along multiple avenues. The first is amateurs who get hired to blog for professional outlets. I’m an example of this, as is Jesse Lee and anyone else who’s paid to blog for a politician or a political campaign. The second avenue is professionals who move from print to blog (or add a blog to their print portfolio). Early examples are Mickey Kaus and Andrew Sullivan, and more recent examples include Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, and the legions of newspaper reporters who now have their own blogs. The third avenue is to sell enough ads to become a self-employed pro. Josh Marshall is an example of this, and so is Markos. The next step along this avenue, perhaps, may be whatever it is that Markos has in mind.

I’m not sure what to make of all this. In fact, the reason I mention it frequently is that I keep hoping someone will get inspired by the suggestion and go off to write a shrewd and perceptive piece about the phenomenon. So far, nobody has.

But it’s a story waiting to be told, and there’s still time for someone to be the first to tell it. For good or ill, I suspect that within two or three years virtually all of the high-traffic political blogs will essentially be professional operations. Think of it as the talk radio-ization of the political blogosphere.

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