Irreplaceable Authority Of Print Media

The Wall Street Journal (cue the ominous organ chords) ran an article the other day that made me feel even more insignificant than I started out feeling; they claimed that nearly a half million Americans make their living from their blogs, and a pretty good living too! I was suspicious (though that might have been the ressentiment of an unpaid blogger who writes carefully and sometimes even thoughtfully), but hey — it’s the WSJ! If anyone knows economic statistics, it should be the financial paper of record, right?
Clay Shirky not only felt suspicious, but he followed it up with some analysis (at BoingBoing’s invitation). It turns out that “the median income for all bloggers running ad-supported weblogs is (wait for it)…
…$200. A year.”
(I feel better about my ad-free not-for-profit blog, although not so very much better that I wouldn’t entertain sponsorship offers.)
Shirky’s analysis eviscerates the nonsense that the prestigious print medium represented as a matter of fact. So the next time someone emphasizes the unique importance of carefully-edited, fact-checked, professional journalism — as the Apostle saith — think on these things.
But I really wanted to post about this to capture and re-quote the line Clay cites from Kevin Marks: “Any anecdote times a made-up number can be a big number.” That belongs in a compendium of quotations somewhere.

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