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#NMX preview: David Perlmutter on the evolving blogosphere

perlmutterOn January 6-8, bloggers from 50 countries will descend on Las Vegas for the New Media Expo (formerly BlogWorld). Come visit Ebyline at NMX and enter our contest to win free content for your blog.

Dr. David Perlmutter, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at The University of Iowa, is holding the Journalism 101 For Bloggers at this year’s NMX conference. Ebyline recently chatted with Perlmutter about the changing online media landscape and his predictions for 2013. What follows are excerpts from that conversation, edited for clarity and brevity.

As blogging has evolved, how has your message about blogging and journalism changed?

We’ve gone from a time when bloggers and freelance writers were seen almost universally as outsiders, rebels, people who weren’t part of the system, and who were challenging the system of traditional media. To some extent there is a large community of bloggers that still see themselves that way, especially in terms of political bloggers.

It used to be that with a successful blog you could make a lot of money through advertising or get a six-figure book deal. Now it seems like a lot of the opportunities are trending more towards using a blog as a calling card to get hired. Is that what you’ve seen? How have those opportunities changed?

I think that social media now is less of a gold mine than a lever. For one thing, a lot of the shelf space is already taken up. There’s a lot of competition and there are people who have been doing it for a while and [corporations] who are spending millions of dollars on it. So, I think there [are] fewer opportunities to directly make content part of your success but rather see content as a lever to increase your success in terms of connections to industry [and] to other platforms that have a revenue model.

Every institution, [whether] nonprofit, governmental [or] corporate, is looking for people to be their leaders in how they communicate in this scary and strange new world that we’re in. Our students are being hired by Boeing Aircraft, by the Federal Reserve Bank, by McDonalds Corporation. They are being hired by non-media companies [that] maybe traditionally wouldn’t hire somebody right out of school with a journalism degree.

What blogging trends do you see in the horizon for 2013?

Well, obviously mobile. People want to carry everything around with them. One of our students referred to a desktop computer the other day as a “grandpa box.” That tells you how far we’ve come. I think if there isn’t a facility to get what you want, when you want it through a mobile device, then it’s never going to be as successful as something that is. And I think everybody, including Microsoft and Facebook who were a little slow on that, now realize[s] that.

Anything else you want to add?

One of the reasons we are doing our presentation is it’s incredibly important for independent bloggers to have a professional edge. And so, we are going to try teach them, in a very short time, some of the techniques that professionals use to look professional, to sound professional, to be taken [seriously] as professionals.

About Susan Johnston

Susan Johnston is a Boston-based freelance writer whose work appears in Bankrate.com, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, MediaBistro.com, Parade Magazine, and SELF, among other places. She is the author of The Urban Muse Guide to Online Writing Markets and blogs at The Urban Muse.

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