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Proviso Probe

Sunday, July 29, 2007

the economics of blogging

I'm on a listserve for local bloggers called Blogs United.

One of the participants, Shai Sachs (Facebook profile), posted an entry about local blogging and the costs of local blogging on MyDD.
If you are blogging full-time, or your blogging precludes you from taking a job with benefits, then you're paying your own health insurance, and not receiving benefits like contributions to a pension or 401(k) fund.

Finally, there is the most important variable: time. There's time you donate to your own blog and (if you're managing a group blog) the time of your associates, which may or may not be donated. Writing time is the highest cost of writing a blog, and it frequently goes unreimbursed.

Many of the costs Sachs lists don't apply to Proviso Probe. But he missed one that does, FOIA requests.

I'll give you an example of a story that I haven't researched because I don't have the money to pay the FOIA costs. The Forest Park Review did a FOIA request and discovered District 89 (Maywood and Melrose Park elementary schools) paid Illinois Alarm, owned by Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone, over $800,000 to install alarms.

The Forest Park Review has follow-up FOIA requests submitted, but isn't looking at the bid process. Did the district request bids? How? I'd like to follow-up on this point, but I have a hard time justifying doing it with my money.

And tomorrow there's a meeting of the District 209 board of education. Do I go to the board meeting? Or to a job where I get paid some money?

There have a been a small number of people who have been very generous supporting Proviso Probe and a few that have been supportive. But money is an issue.

Anyways, think about it.

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  • Ms. Coffee says: Carl, just how much does it cost to maintain a blog? I think your blog is great. In fact, it's so great that the Insider and Truth had to copy it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:12 AM, July 30, 2007  

  • Carl, I understand how expensive work like ours can be.

    Last year the Village of Broadview increased their fee for FOIA copies from $0.10 to $0.25 per page. I spoke with the Attorney General's Public Access Counselors* and found I could make my own copies as long as I didn't damage the originals or take them out of the building. I figured with today's technology, there must be some way for me to make my own copies.

    Now what I do is take my digital camera and a stand (like a secretary uses to hold copy as they type) and take pictures of each page. I download the pictures to my computer and have my true copies of the documents without paying the Village a dime!

    * Public Access Counselor Terry Mutchler can be reached at 217-524-1503, or by writing to her at the Attorney General’s Springfield office at 500 S. Second Street, Springfield, IL 62705. She can also be reached by fax at 217-785-2551.

    Info at: http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/government/pac_bio.html

    By Anonymous Judy Brown-Marino, at 12:47 PM, July 30, 2007  

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