This week’s highlights from the world of freelance writing and online media:
Online news wins big – Much was made of the fact that although this was the first year Pulitzer Prizes were open to online-only publications none received any of the newspaper industry’s highest honors and only one, Politico, was a finalist, and in the editorial cartooning category at that. But that’s a bit of a short sided view. Although no online-only outfits took home awards, online news was recognized in several categories, most notably the St. Petersburg Times’ PolitiFact Website, which tested the validity of political statements made during the 2008 elections and took home the Pulitzer for national reporting. Read the entire list of 2009 winners here.
More bloggers than bartenders – Speaking of new forms of news, the Wall Street Journal says there are more people in the United States making money blogging than tending bar. According to the story, 1.7 million Americans are paid bloggers and 452,000 make it their primary source of income. According to the story, it takes 100,000 unique visitors a month to make $75,000 a year.
Hyperlocal news ventures get grants – And speaking of getting paid to blog, J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism at American University’s School of Communication will grant up to $25,000 each in start up funds over the next two years to eight hyperlocal community news projects. Winners of the New Voices grants were chosen from among 304 applicants. They include Oakland Local, a daily news Website and mobile service covering Oakland, California; and The Villager, a hyperlocal news site covering Coconut Grove West in Florida crerated by Kim Grinfelder, a University of Miami professor.
Using social media to build the Brand of You – Robin Broitman, an Internet and social media strategist and Web publisher for the National Wildlife Federation, has published the most extensive listing I’ve ever seen on using social media to build brand identity. What does this have to do with freelancing? Plenty. In a world where more writers are disconnecting from staff jobs, by choice or otherwise, having an identifiable brand is one way to stand out in the crowd. Broitman’s list is compiled from blog posts written by some of social media’s biggest gurus and covers everything from how to write more effective online network profile pages to why you should use your real name as your Twitter handle.
Freelance love – The folks at ODesk.com, a market for online teams, put together a list of 100 top freelance blogs that includes blogs on freelance writing, Web design, graphic design, software development, illustration and more. OK, so WordCount didn’t make the cut – there’s always next time.
This week’s Twitter tools:
- @APStylebook – The international wire service has created a home on Twitter for its venerable style guide for news reporters. Staffers manning the account will can’t answer AP style questions but will direct Twitterers to the service’s Website, APStylebook.com.
- TwitterSheep – A fun app that creates a Wordle-like word cloud based on your Twitter followers. Here’s mine.