Football Blogging, The Media & The End Of A Depressing Year

Ian

Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

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8 Responses

  1. terry daley says:

    I’m becoming of the opinion that writing for a living, especially as a freelancer, is a pipe dream. That ship has sailed, and as long as blogs and free sources of written content exist that’s how i’s going to stay. Time to train as a plumber, methinks

  2. Tom says:

    I think some of this feeds into the discussions and arguments about providing free content on the net, whether you’re a small(ish) blog or you’re a national daily publication. There’s an almost insatiable demand for content that was created by the internet and perhaps only by charging for that content will everyone who produces it get their slice of the pie. Charging models on the net seem destined for failure though, unless some fresh angle can be found from somewhere.

    As long as you enjoy doing it, keep doing it. When the love is gone, don’t. Keep up the good work. Hopefully 2012 will be more harmonious.

  3. The Gaffer says:

    Ian, it’s a very fascinating topic. I’m not in favour of what The Guardian is doing. What they’re doing (whether by design or not) is creating a football section where the public can get “all of the news” they desire in one place.

    Ultimately that could hurt the rest of the football blogs out there, especially if readers don’t have time (or are too lazy) to find blogs that cover an array of subjects that The Guardian and GSN don’t touch on.

    The sad truth is that blogging (especially blogging about football) is hard work. Football is 365 days a year, so there are few breaks for bloggers to take a breather. And most football supporters are unforgiving, have high expectations and want everything for free.

    It’s a great environment for a football supporter, but a different story altogether for the content creator (in this case, the football blogger).

    At the end of the day, it’s the survival of the fittest. It’s a slog, the pay is awful but the tools available for writers with a passion and commitment are readily available, so I don’t see football blogs dying out or diminishing even with The Guardian’s attempt to build a sports empire online.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  4. Terry Daley says:

    The fact is that newspapers and magazines are struggling. The Guardian loses millions of pounds a year; it simply cannot afford to be dishing out proper freelance rates for all the football writing their is. If you are not working full time for a large news organisation, as a reporter rather than as a blogger/columnist, then you are not going to make a living out of writing. That much is clear.

    So like Tom and THP say, do it for the for the love or don’t do it at all. And don’t give up the day job

  5. Dan says:

    I’m afraid this boat has long sailed. The second sites like this one (despite how good most of the articles are) were born it started the long decline for paid football writing.

    Why should the Guardian/HuffPo pay for work that people are writing for free? Quality football journalism has been made totally by the sheer amount of people giving it away for free. If I can read excellent articles here and on other blogs I won’t pay £1 to read what the Guardian is saying.

    This is just the bigger companies getting in on the act now, see also unpaid internships and so on.

    Although people ‘selling out’ to the Guardian while getting nothing in return is particularly unpleasant. You say there’s a possibility of paid work from the Guardian at some point, but over time they won’t bother to waste that money when they can get everything for free.

  6. jertzee says:

    One of the main problems a lot of bloggers have, and by this I mean the likes of 200%, is that they go into a lot of time and effort and dig deeper than virtually any journalist ever would from a paper.

    Yes there are people that do write well, Jim White for instance, or David Walsh on the Sunday Times who spends a lot of time with his doping in cycling exposes.

    And that is where the bloggers have almost shot themselves in the foot, and why the Guardian has done what they have done.

    They have effectively said “Our journalists lack detail in their work (the need for quantity over quality?), some bloggers dig deep and do a lot of work normal journalists don’t have the time or inclination for, so therefore, let’s top up our writing with the best of the creative bunch out there that are likely to do it for free”

    Sadly it will all start to mean the demise of blogs. As someoen who co-wrote a fanzine in the 90’s I know how time consuing it all is.

  7. elliott says:

    I’m still torn about the Guardian concept – on the one hand, I’m happy to see a great site like RoP get more exposure (disclosure: I write there from time to time). On the other hand, I’d love to see Brian get enough money from advertisers to go full-time and just edit and write for it. And not necessarily need to run his site’s content other places. Still, if RoP replaces the AP newswire, the world is probably better off.

    Looking at the big picture beyond soccer writing, ultimately, we are all still very much in a slow growth/tip of recession global economy, so any website based on PPC is going to have trouble. All newspapers are hurting in some level, although the NYT paywall strategy is supposed to be doing well (and reflects a respectable compromise). On a personal note, I’ve made more off a single eBook in a month than I ever got from PPC ads on my two year old site (disclosure: I dislike PPC ads and admittedly they are not placed in the “money spots” at the header or long column).

    I’m not surprised that newspapers aren’t hiring in this economy – nobody is.

    I’m convinced that for niche blogs that go in-depth or off-base (or both) with their writing style and topics, that eBooks are probably the best bet at this particular point in time.

  8. Callum says:

    As I’ve said before:

    – It’s not their choice. Well, it is, but it’s not one that should solely be considered on their terms. It affects everybody else by driving down the price of labour. If they view it as something that affects them and them alone, they’re being ignorant or selfish.

    – Free labour is inherently wrong, particularly in a unionised industry, for so many reasons.

    – It’s perfectly possible to expect a financial reward for what you correctly state is a lot of work. Our own site turns a profit, and therefore a very sizeable percentage of that profit goes towards paying our contributors. To my knowledge, we are the only blog that has a proper payment system in place. We get more hits than IBWM and RoP but we’re hardly the biggest blog out there.

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