The Shifting Balance of Power for Media — Is the Free Lance Really Free?

Really good article, I think, on GigaOM’s paidContent blog by Mathew Ingram, who touches on many good points about the shifting sands — the zeitgeist, if you will — of what’s happening now that “new media” is advancing into middle age.

It’s still a week before Andrew Sullivan’s new independent site goes live with the subscription-based model he announced earlier this month, and the star political blogger says he has already raised close to $500,000 from readers. Sullivan’s move was like a shot across the bow of traditional media, one that is no doubt being watched closely by many high-profile writers and journalists — such as New York Times statistics blogger Nate Silver, whose contract with the newspaper is coming up for renewal soon. Where will the continents lie after this tectonic shift is over?

via Andrew Sullivan, Nate Silver and the shifting balance of power for media brands — paidContent.

Ingram talks about Nate Silver’s possibly leaving the New York Times, where his 538 blog has taken up residence. Since Silver has become the king of the poll quants, the Grey Lady certainly benefits from having him in residence. But does he? As Ingram points out, Silver was slapped on the wrist by the Times for a bit of snark that was “conduct unbecoming,” as it were, for a journalist at the Times. Does that mean Silver is ready to strike out on his own again? Surely the freedom is a delicious temptation, but so are those nice dollar bills that come with being associated with Big J like the Times.

One wonders what Jonah Lehrer would think about this. Does he think he was better off with the imprimatur of the New Yorker backing up his writings before he was unceremoniously pitched off of that pedestal last summer — mostly, we should point out of his own doing?

Sullivan will be a good test case. He’s serious about trading in a bunch of creature comforts for unfettered freedom. It will be interesting to revisit this in six months to see what he things then. Meanwhile, here’s a bunch of my posts on the subject(s) at hand:

Sullivan: HERE

Silver: HERE and HERE

Lehrer: HERE and HERE

Final thoughts are Ingram’s:

And as the music industry has discovered, there is even less incentive for talent to stick around now than there ever has been, and the barriers to entry for those who decide to leave are lower. Sullivan may have been the first over the wall in this latest iteration, but he is unlikely to be the last.


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