Personal Brand Journalism.

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People read blogs for the same reason they read magazines. Good content. The best place to find good reporting, news and analysis used to be in newspapers and magazines. If you could write, that’s what you wanted to be. A journalist. If you could think, analyze and persuade, journalism was your career path.

A few years ago a new class of journalist entered the scene: the blogger. Many started on LiveJournal as public diarists then branched out posting about what they loved: music, technology, sports, etc.   Lo and behold they developed followings. Even without formal journalism training, these bloggers connected with readers. The language used in these blogs changed — got more fun and conversational — and newspaper columns slowly began to followed suit. (No rolling over Mr. Safire.) This new class of journalism became a popular, free and immediate option for readers.

And now with newspaper and magazines closing bureaus and shedding writing staff, where are all the once-bylined writers going? To the web. To their own branded sites. And once they smell the success of their own personal brands, once they start fielding speaking engagement requests, once they have their million hit days, there will be no going back. Personal brand journalism is here to stay.