Money isn't the only currency

JD Lasica explores the debate over paying citizen journalists. This has been a recurring discussion among the blogo-mediati and has even led to the launch of some, well, interesting businesses.

Here’s my take, if someone provides something of value, they should be compensated with something of value. But the truth is, that isn’t always cash.

Here’s our proposition for varying types of citizen journalists:

  • Bloggers:
    If we notice something valuable on your site, we’ll link to you. If you want to be a regular contributor, give us permission and we’ll scrape a few posts a week from your site as stories in our system. Every time, we’ll link to your blog, which will drive traffic. We’ll pay you in eyeballs.
    If you want cash, and your blog is sufficiently local and consistently high-quality, we can move your blog into our publishing system. If we mutually agree to do so, we’ll offer you a share in the ad revenue from your pages. But be warned: In many cases, we won’t get paid unless our subscribers act on the ads. So we’re all in this together.
  • People who submit comments:
    If your comments on stories and guide items are well-read and useful to the community, we may occasionally push them up the chain to be independent stories. If that happens consitently with your stuff, we’re likely to offer you a freelance "beat."
  • People who submit photos, audio, video and prose:
    We’ll always link to your website, if you have one, again paying you in eyeballs. In many cases, we may also be giving voice to a topic you’re passionate about, a topic too far down the Long Tail for the traditional media to cover. Again, if we post your stuff often enough, we’ll talk to you about a regular "beat."

If you’re interested in working with us, let us know.

Mike Orren is the Chief Product Officer of The Dallas Morning News; President of Belo Business Intelligence; husband to Crystal Orren; and a Mungarian at Munger Place Church in Dallas, TX. All opinions herein are mine alone.