In 2003 journalist Rafat Ali ditched journalism to blog full-time. In June, 2006 he announced an investment deal with Greycroft Partners rumoured to be worth millions of dollars. Ali is high profile, but he is not the only journalist striking out into blogdom and making it pay.

Craig McGinty started work as a journalist on the Stockport Express and was later editor of thisislancashire. He ditched journalism to blog full-time, mostly about France. He works 10 or 12 hours a day running eight blogs. He earns his five figure salary through advertising and affiliate schemes.

"You don't need a million page impressions a month to make a living," said Mr McGinty. "Your site is drawing people in who have already expressed an interest in what you are writing by their search terms within Google, so the chances they will click on adverts and follow your site, telling others with the same interest, is strong.

Mr McGinty works from home, "I can easily keep in touch with people via Skype and email", and he draws on more than 300 RSS feeds, keyword searches in Bloglines, Google News Alerts and company press releases to produce content: "I just write when stories come up and flip from one blog to the other," explained Mr McGinty.

Outlay is low; an $8-per-year domain name, a £75.90-per-year Typepad account and the free Zookoda newsletter service.

He relishes the freedom self publishing gives him, "Unfortunately many freelancers may sell an article for a few hundred pounds and then struggle to sell it again, so it is stuck on their PC forever. That same article you could have written for your own site and it will still be drawing in money tomorrow, next week, next year; publishing your own site opens your eyes to the power of copyright and the internet."

While Mr McGinty left journalism to build his mini-blog empire, Tim Worstall took the opposite tack.

The British blogger, based in Portugal, started blogging in April 2004 to get into journalism. He thinks his editorial appeal is straightforward: "Some editors like to have something from a froth-mouthed libertarian."

Mr Worstall believes that "in the future [media] is going to be more biased, that it will throw off any pretension to objectivity and I think it will be all the better for that".

He specialises in opinion, witty commentary and columnist baiting. He is the driving force behind 2005: Blogged.

Mr Worstall's output puts many freelances to shame. He is paid to blog for EQSQ. He also writes for the Social Affairs Unit, the Globalization Institute, the Adam Smith Institute, TCS Daily and occasionally for The Times, Daily Telegraph and the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I'm now making, month by month, in the $4,000/$5,000 range purely from writing. That's better than if I were actually employed somewhere as a staffer."

He also uses the controversial PayPerPost service. The service pays bloggers to write about subjects using certain keywords, although he keeps this seperate from his main blog.

"I like to try the various things out there being offered to bloggers. So I tried this. I did it and reported on it. In one sense that's actually real journalism, isn't it? Why I continue it is purely for cash: but then that was my motivation in starting to write anyway."

He believes blogging is compatible with a 9 to 5 job, "Blogging takes two or a bit more hours a day. About the time most people spend watching television which is something I don't do. Writing for pay is different, in that it does take much more time, but then that has become my job in a way anyway."

However, it is just a case of blog and sell. "I did bang on a few doors to try to get noticed, but it was the fact that I was blogging at such length that got me hired at all. Being able to point to some output is a lot better than saying 'well, I know no one's hired me yet but I really can do some interesting stuff you know!' In a sense, the blog acted (and still does) as a clippings file, even if in the beginning it was all blog posts rather than clippings."

A blog evangelist he may be, but Mr Worstall is also a realist. "Salary sum earning bloggers will remain very thin on the ground. People who use blogging as an advertising tool, a practice ground, to get freelance work in the regular media, as I have done, will be a much more common form. I don't think brand names or editorial teams are going to go away, but those who write for such might come from a wider pool."

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