MEDIA BRANDS: As the blogging story develops, the media also should remember smaller operations

For a lot of good reasons, journalists love to tell stories to people.

For a lot of good reasons, journalists love to tell stories to people.

Even when it comes to business stories that should be told with numbers - dollars and cents that back up the author's pronouncements - narratives get reduced to struggles between strong personalities. And often the story becomes a lot simpler than it should be. This has been the case with the blogging industry, which has been set up as the tale of two would-be nanopublishing moguls: Nick Denton, of Gawker fame, and dot-com media impresario Jason Calacanis. A profile of Denton in this month's Business 2.0 suggests that, as the tech recovery continues, one of the big media business stories will be whether blogs, heretofore small operations, will become the targets of venture capitalists and old media companies. This question has sparked a saga, starring Denton and Calacanis, that's been plenty dramatic - perhaps at the expense of some lesser-known bloggers who are doing interesting things both editorially and commercially. One of these is Rafat Ali, the Inside.com and Silicon Alley Reporter alum who runs the digital media blog Paid Content.org. It's hard to call Ali's site a blog because, unlike many of the flashier sites that have a stranglehold on media attention, it breaks actual news and offers insightful analysis. I first spoke to Ali last year for a PRWeek story about his site, and since then much has changed. First off, he's moved from London to LA. More important, he's poised to expand his profitable one-man show, which already has grown from news and links to offering research reports and a digital-media jobs blog. Like any business-owner on the threshold of change, Ali is cagey about revealing his prospects. He talks about adding three or four employees and doing events on specific issues that affect his audience, but when it comes to potential investors, the details, understandably, aren't as forthcoming. "At this point, I have three or four offers in different stages from people I could collaborate with, whether it's strategic investment or an angel investment, that I'm looking at." As he moves forward, Ali is still bent on exploring the niche of digital content and the smaller niches within that topic - music, movies, and so forth. He's not interested in creating a string of blogs that, all told, explain everything under the sun. And he's not interested in gossip and rants. "There has to be an underlying news ethic," he says. "I have a formula; I just need to implement it," he continues. "That means me getting more monetary resources and personnel resources - at this point it's just me. My coverage is increasing every day. There's money in it, but not too much. There's enough for a five-person company, maybe." Whatever happens with Paid Content, it's important to remember that as the blogging story evolves, there's more out there than the buzzmeisters who have so far dominated the narrative.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in