Anybody want to buy a journalist?

The dizzying amount of media layoffs and shutdowns in the last week rendered a casualty that escaped my attention until just now — Ana Marie Cox of the recently shuttered Radar magazine. The political journalist who earned her initial fame as the snarky D.C. blogger Wonkette still has a place on the McCain campaign plane. But she’s asking her audience to finance her travel for just a few more days:

“It will cost about $1500 to cover just the last day of the campaign, and over $1000 a day for each day leading up to it. While I still blog for TIME’s ‘Swampland’ — and I will for as long as they let me! — I am without a source for travel funds. So, you know, anyone interested in sponsoring a foul-mouthed blogger, slightly used?”

Wanna help her out? Here’s what she calls her rate card. Seems like she’s going to get enough to take her to Phoenix for election night and back. “Pledge drives” are nothing new in the blogosphere, and individuals who’ve successfully banged the tin cup have tended to be high-profile figures who might more easily command it.

Message to displaced journalists: Don’t think of this as shameless begging. Think of it as a much more up-front kind of résumé. An approach to continue doing the work that you love. A way to find out how much your readers really value what you write.

The practice of crowdfunding journalism — another advocate of this concept calls it “representative journalism” — is likely to increase. And plucky startups like this one might gain some more imitators. Especially with more and more journalists joining our ranks every day.


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