The lesson here, then, is not that digital journalism doesn’t pay. It does pay, and often it pays better than print journalism. Rather, the lesson is that if you want to earn money in digital journalism, you’re probably going to have to get a full-time job somewhere. Lots of people write content online; most of them aren’t even journalists, and as Arianna Huffington says, “self-expression is the new entertainment”. Digital journalism isn’t really about writing, any more — not in the manner that freelance print journalists understand it, anyway. Instead, it’s more about reading, and aggregating, and working in teams; doing all the work that used to happen in old print-magazine offices, but doing it on a vastly compressed timescale.
That’s why I decided to create The Russell Bulletin. Knowing how to write isn’t enough nowadays – you need to know how to find the stories, how to best relate them to people, and how to work with others to publish as often as the competition. While an independent blogger can pick up the first two on his own, he won’t get the experience of coordinating with a team.