Monday, November 10, 2008

Being Used...And Loving It

I've been used! And I loved it!

Last week, I wrote this objective piece in regard to a Wall Street Journal article reporting on Boeing's latest snafu, the further delay of its 787 Dreamliner.

To my great surprise, it was picked up by this engineer's union website. As of Monday morning, November 10, as I write this, my blog post has slid off of their 'News Clips' section. But visitors to my blog from that site accounted for at least 50% of the near-record 217 visits here on Friday.

The record was 315 on the day I posted this piece about the commercial bank aspirations of GMAC, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

It's not hard to see why the engineer's union chose to publicize my piece. And it's very instructive concerning modern media and not only business, but politics, as well.

The Wall Street Journal might highlight the Dreamliner's problems, but, due to its need for continued access to sources and advertising revenues, it was unlikely to be brutally honest about how badly Boeing's management has messed up the Dreamliner.

I, however, have no such constraints. So, as do thousands of other bloggers, I objectively opine on news articles, adding a bit more bite and candor to softer business news stories already available in the general media.

For the engineer's union, my post must have seemed like a gift. I focused responsibility squarely on the company's surprisingly-unaccomplished CEO, Jim McNerney, and the management which allowed fastener specifications to be made with too little specificity.

For a labor union to find an objective business writer taking this position is sweet, indeed. Rather like Bill O'Reilly finding my blog to be, in the words of his producer, the only place where an objective assessment of Jeff Immelt's dismal misleadership of GE, and the firm's awful performance under his oversight, were available among all the print and electronic media they canvassed.

When I was discussing my blog with a friend at my fitness club recently, he asked why I wasn't trying to find a paid, syndicated writing gig somewhere. As I considered his question, I replied that I guessed I'd first have to approach someone like King World, to get syndication.

I can't imagine that is very easy. Probably a lot like getting your first book published.

Then there's the question of how much the shrinking pool of print media would pay for my writing? The Wall Street Journal doesn't use syndicated writers, and they don't need another Holman Jenkins, whose work my own closely resembles. Neither, I'm guessing, do the best-known business weekly or monthly magazines, such as Forbes, Fortune and Businessweek.

What's left? USA Today and a few large city dailies?

After a few remarks about this, I told my friend, Larry, that probably my best bet would be to hope to be hired as a contributor to either Fox Business News or CNBC, based upon their reading of my columns.

It's an interesting revelation that, were I to want to attempt to make a living writing as I do on this blog, it's not clear that it is really possible anymore. And, ironically, I write more frequently than your average WSJ columnist, because they editorialize weekly, while I write daily.

Multiply me by a few thousand, and you essentially have the free availability of reasonably informed and educated opinions on business ruining the for-fee business editorial market.

In the meantime, the combination of Google's search engine and its free blogging platform have allowed it to affect a large element of business and, as importantly, political writing.

The emergence of person-to-person communication, in a thoughtful and respectful manner, will certainly continue to augment and, perhaps eventually, in the not too distant future, even supersede print editorials.

Thus is Brian Wesbury's 'internet time' arriving at an accelerating pace.

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