Archives for December 2005
If you get a holiday at this time of the year wherever you are, have a cool break and all the best for 2006. We’re on the road for a bit as of tomorrow, but we’ll be back and well mad for it in the new year. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for that extra special last minute gift, look no further. Send a cow. Or bees, fish, goats, oxen for that matter. Peace. Now, I’m off for a quick pint with No Star Where and an appointment with a quail lady.
The curse continues. A few months ago the Travel Editor at The Sunday Herald Magazine in Scotland contacted me. She wanted to submit my story about wildlife on Tiree to the Travel Journalism section of the Thistle Awards. The awards are fairly well known in Scotland;
“Now in their 14th year, the awards were created by VisitScotland to recognise and celebrate excellence and quality in one of Scotland’s most important industries, and they are widely recognised as one of the top accolades a tourism business can receive.” 2005 Thistle Awards.”
I agreed, filled out a few forms and off went the entry. True to form, yesterday I discovered I didn’t win. So, what’s with the curse?
- Bloggies 2005 – LOST
- Food Blog Awards 2004 – LOST (in several categories)
- The Urbs – LOST. Nominated. Didn’t even scrape my sad ass into the final cut.
- And now, the Thistle Awards…
Still. It would’ve been somewhat ethically troubling to receive an award from an award scheme created by an organisation that pays a chunk of my wages. Roll on 2006. Gonna keep my eyes peeled. Me wants me more competitions I have a fighting chance at losing in throughout the year. My reputation’s on the line.
Blogging: I expect my advertising income from blogging to increase throughout 2006. I hope that by the end of 2006 I’ll be earning somewhere in the region of $800+ per month from blogvertising. For a niche blog like noodlepie, that’s not unrealistic, given current trends.
Journalism: Living in Vietnam, I’m happy doing a couple of features per month along with my regulars. But, what with hitting Europe by September, I want to at least double the feature end of my work. Or, do less, but better, and for more cash.
Corporate writing work: I need to up the corporate work prior to moving to Europe. I need three or four more regular clients to commission me to do their promotional material, brochures, manuals, websites, blogs, newsletters, advertorial and the like on an ongoing basis. I’m targeting UK, mainly Scottish, outlets for this.
Micro-global journalism projects: Since learning about Lives in Focus I’m thinking increasingly this is the way I want to run more of my freelance work in the future. If I can self fund projects like this, all well and good. If they’re sufficiently niche and sufficiently interesting, they’ll end up paying for themselves in the long term through advertising, paid commissions etc. However, if I can’t fund projects myself, I’ll look at going down a similar donation driven path to Sandeep. As for the micro-global name – self explanatory – miniscule, unreported niche story with a global impact published on a blog.
Beekeeping: Not a big money spinner, but it’s something I’d like to get into somewhere in Europe.
Weekend market stall: Sell duck curry one week, paella the next, fish soup the week after etc., (don’t snigger) A year or so back, I met an Argentine film maker in Toulouse. He earns his money this way. Makes a fuck off great Paella every weekend, flogs it and funds his film making. OK. He doesn’t fund all his film making, but a reasonable enough chunk of it. It’s another piece in the income jigsaw. Plus I make a mean duck curry.
Foraging: There’s money in mushrooms, but I’m not thinking of selling. Gathering, cooking, learning and blogging.
Teaching: In a previous life I was a teacher. I may do a bit on the side again. I doubt it, but I’m open to the possibility.
Blog building: I’m over familiar with how blogs and blogging works. Many organisations aren’t. I can help them. I talked to one big organisation in the summer. All very interested etc. etc., but there was resistance from higher up. I’ll wager they won’t all want be so resistant in 2006.
OK – so there it is. Not so much a plan as a fairly loose bunch of ideas, some semi-formed, others still in the pupae stage.
Been brill really. Learned bags. Blogged buckets. Commented heaps. Read heaps of comments 🙂 Read stacksablogs. Met some lovely people 😉 Looking forward to ’06. Massive.
January – Big surprise. Get nominated for a Bloggie Award.
February – The mainstream media went a bit foodblog mental for a wee while. Lorra fun.
March – Behind the blog scenes, I finished working on a story for BBC Wildlife Magazine and Action Asia Magazine about the plight of pink humpback dolphins in the waters around Taiwan. All told, this story took about a month to do. I wasn’t entirely happy with the end result – Have you ever tried getting any sense out of the Taiwanese government? No? I don’t recommend it – but I learned a lot and out of all the stories I worked on in 2005, this was probably the most interesting. March 15 – Lost big time at The Bloggies to a hot, hipster chick in go-go boots. Maan… I can still feel the cold steel of her 8 inch deep stilleto heel. Found solace (and glue) among the comments 🙂
April – New York Times mentions noodlepie. I had a tonne of press in 2005. What with the Bloggies, NYTimes, The Guardian, Observer, San Francisco Chronicle, Bon Appetit among others. Interestingly though, it was only the NYTimes mention that put a very visible dent in my statistics. April 20 – Invited to join the foodblog advertising network at BlogAds. Got off to a slow start, but things have picked up in recent months. The most I’ve earned from advertising in one month is about $400. Google Adsense now brings in about $60 per month. I’m not about to retire.
May – Who is Miss Vietnam?
June – Started compiling the Vietnam Blogs list. I’ve stopped now.
August – A powercut strikes, I have a deadline to meet for The Guardian. I end up interviewing Jeff Jarvis and others from a crumby, mosquito ridden, internet cafe in Saigon’s District 10. Love new media. Love lo-fi working. Hate powercuts. August 6 – Thrilled to see the start of Sticky Rice in Hanoi.
September – My fave noodlepie blog post from 2005 – will be back there very soon with NoStar Where & co. September 26 – Launch of the new design. I’ve grown to really like it. More minimal. More massive. Just more.
October – Podcast interview with Hugh Fraser at Blog Relations. FWIW, I think this podcast series is going from strength to strength. Loved the last three – Molly, Scoble/Macleod and Metcalfe. Keep it up Hugh. October 18 – The Offal Quiz is unleashed. October 25 – The Handy Hedgerow Guide is pruned.
November – Featured in a lovely piece about SE Asian food bloggers at Global Voices. November 22 – Bought www.stillbop.com. Still dicking around with it. Thinking of starting a beekeeping blog. As soon as I… errr… buy some bees. Maybe a hedgerow foraging blog. Dunno. Summit very different though. For now I think at stillbop. It’s a beautifully minimal corner of the internet.
December – I realise I can create beautiful things with a cameraphone.
Blogjobwise, In 2005 I got more offers to write for magazines and newspapers as a direct result of the blog. I ended up turning a couple of places down, but I did do pieces for TIME, similarly for The Guardian and again here. There were other pieces. A story for The Journalist was fun. In recent weeks, Food & Wine Magazine and The New York Times have asked me to work for them. All very nice, but what’s been interesting to me is how many stories I’ve ended up writing that have stemmed from some blog post I’ve read somewhere. I’m working on two of those at the moment. I’ll be blogging more about that at stillbop through January.
Statswise, there’s PubSub. Unfortunately, I’m a bit thick. I don’t really understand it. Apparently, noodlepie has a Google pagerank of 5, but again I don’t really know what that means. There’s also the increasingly brilliant Technorati and the statcounter.com graph.
Final calls at the Menu for Hope. Pim’s put together a groovy collage page full of giftgivers. Donations are over the $11,000 mark which is superb. Donate as little as $5 or as much as you want. Remember all cash goes to help victims of the South Asian earthquake. There are some really fab things up for grabs too. My own donation pales somewhat in comparison, but once I’ve found somewhere to burn it I think whoever is the lucky winner will have a sweet DVD to watch and an interesting bag of mystery Vietnamese goodies. Donate to the raffle here.
Saigon Santa has a jolly big sack this year. In addition to hip flicks, today you can grab mobilephone wallpaper, or blogpaper.
If you can get images from computer to phone (bluetooth, USB cable, thought transferrence etc.) you too can have a noodlephone, like the K750i pictured above.
In Breaking News:
Brussel Sprouts were spotted at Veggy’s on Thai Van Lung street today and captured on cameraphone by a quick witted, intelligent and handsome onlooker.
In 8+ years of living in Vietnam, this is the first confirmed live sighting of this most fartmungussly delicious wee vegetable. A few hours from now, a 56,000VD bag of these will meet steam, hot butter, salt, pepper, nutmeg, sesame seeds and half a roast chicken. Fabulous.
For those of you living in a Brussel Sprout abundant region you might well wonder whether I’ve lost the garden plot. While that’s entirely possible, let’s put it another way – Do you like Brussel Sprouts? You do? Try living without them for a year… or eight 🙂
More on the Veggy’s vegetable shop story at the – ‘Hmmm?? I think I’ve got just enough room for one more side of beef, a plate of chips and a cream bun, thanks’ – the well hungry Eating Asia blog.
Sandeep raises a good point about blogs and branding. It’s one I still need to do some thinking about,
“I wanted to insure that the name would remain relevant for future projects on other topics. We didn’t want to have to create yet another site later and have to rebuild a readership. This is analogous to Amazon.com and eBay choosing names that allowed them to expand their services without being boxed in by their branding, such as was the case with the likes of eToys.com and CDNow.com.” OJR
Muttered more on this before, but how easy is it to mothball a blog and move on? Obviously as far as names go, neither noodlepie nor stillbop, tie me in the same way as eToys and CDNow. But noodlepie is known for one thing – Saigon streetfood. How many readers could I realistically expect to take with me given a new url and assuming the eventual focus of stillbop will be an entirely new animal? Is there a chance a few folk might follow regardless of what I talk about?
Journalist Sandeep Junnarkar and photographer Srinivas Kuruganti used a combination of basic marketing techniques, a blog and reader donations to fund a journalism project looking at the impact of India’s new patent law on the medical treatment of the country’s HIV positive population. Lives in Focus is the multimedia result. Sandeep talks about his methods at Online Journalism Review.
Using a blog as a publishing platform, the Web provides the ideal outlet for freelance journalists seeking editorial control and unlimited space for text, photographs and video — and that’s especially good for showing people’s lives in detail as we wanted to do.
I’ve come across similar projects – Christopher Allbritton’s Back to Iraq comes to mind – but none quite so tightly focussed. I hope this is just the start of seeing more grassroots freelancing projects run this way. Maybe in the future, funding will come from newspapers themselves. After all, it’s not as if these guys needed oodles of dough to fund the project,
“The expenses for this project are primarily travel costs to and within India. As a grassroots effort, we plan to stay with family, friends and at inexpensive hotels. We strongly believe that this issue will be ignored by the mainstream media but is of global importance because of the ramifications of the new patent law on the AIDS treatment. Nonetheless, the total cost to report, record, photograph and video is in the range of $5,000.” Deep News.
Could newspapers commission freelancers to work this way in the future? I can’t see why large newspapers couldn’t channel small portions of subscription fees to projects like Lives in Focus. Payback comes via links to and from each other, syndication agreements and quasi-affiliated reporting kudos. I guess there is a certain appeal to the freelancer to source their own funding as Sandeep and Srinivas did, independent of any newspaper, relying solely on donations.
One thing that is clear, when browsing through the project, there’s a huge amount of depth to the reporting, what with the combination of text, audio, video and pictures etc. One niggling annoyance – there could be more outbound links in the main text, but that’s nitpicking. It’s easy to see the return a newspaper would get for backing grassroots projects like this. Here’s the project background and an MP3 recording of Sandeep discussing Lives in Focus on BBC Radio.