Journalism doesn’t pay, so what?

training editors in kigali

I never thought about making money when I set up Kigali Wire. From the beginning it has always been an experiment and it remains so. I never thought about making money when I shot my first photojournalism essaywhich is in dire need of an editor’s hand… forgive me, it is my first bash at the medium. And I never think about money when people use my stuff. So, why am I thinking about money now?

Because, I reckon I stand to make more money on by-products than I (probably) ever could from straight journalism. Since doing the photojournalism essay, I’ve received the following enquiries:

– 5 invites to give paid talks – that’s me above, about to give one of them in Kigali.

– interest from a major newspaper in commissioning an edit of the piece.

– interest from a couple of NGO’s about doing similar photojournalism pieces on a commission basis.

That’s almost $2,000, even if the latter two don’t come off. All the tools I use are cheap. All the digital tools I use are free or low cost.

I’m beginning to hope think it might be sustainable to do the stories I want to do, in the way I want to do them, if I keep in mind that by-products are the only earner. And if I get more creative in what by-products I come up with.

This is something Vaughan and I have talked about loads over the years – maybe one day we’ll unveil our world-beating chip van model for the future of journalism... And I’d say this kind of thinking is at the core of what the Frontline Club stands for.

Of course, this isn’t new, but – in these utterly grim times for old media – thinking along these lines might offer a glimmer of hope for any would-be freelance journalists out there. And it deffo plays into the whole how to be a foreign correspondent thinking some of us talked about recently. To make this work best, I reckon you still need to…

go somewhere cheap. And odd. The odder the better. link

Photo taken from my personal Flickr account