U.S. Now Has Almost As Many Paid Bloggers As Lawyers


More: Slate cofounder Scott Rosenberg digs around these numbers and finds reasons to be sceptical.

Some startling numbers pumped out by the Bureau of labour Statistics: The U.S. now has almost as many paid bloggers as lawyers.  Mark Penn in the WSJ:

The best studies we can find say we are a nation of over 20 million bloggers, with 1.7 million profiting from the work ,and 452,000 of those using blogging as their primary source of income

Demographically, bloggers are extremely well educated: three out of every four are college graduates. Most are white males reporting above-average incomes. One out of three young people reports blogging, but bloggers who do it for a living successfully are 2% of bloggers overall.

It takes about 100,000 unique visitors a month to generate an income of $75,000 a year. Bloggers can get $75 to $200 for a good post, and some even serve as “spokesbloggers” — paid by advertisers to blog about products.

Not sure where Mark’s getting that 100,000 uniques get you $75,000 a year figure.  Sounds awfully high.  We also have a hard time believing that nearly 500,000 people make a living blogging.  But it’s sure to encourage another 500,000 people to try.  Most will die.

[A] subgroup of these bloggers are the true professionals who work at corporations, serve as highly paid blogging consultants or write for sites with substantial traffic.

Pros who work for companies are typically paid $45,000 to $90,000 a year for their blogging. One per cent make over $200,000. And they report long hours — 50 to 60 hours a week.

He’s right about that last bit.

And who’s paying the price for all this amateur reporting and opining?  That’s right:

As bloggers have increased in numbers, the number of journalists has significantly declined. In Washington alone, there are now 79% fewer DC-based employees of major newspapers than there were just few years ago.

But don’t cry for journalism.  Most of the payrolls of newspapers goes to duplicating work that is already being done competently elsewhere.  As the industry restructures and gets more efficient, there will still be money for those few hard-hitting investigative pieces that everyone points to when they bemoan the death of journalism.


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