Should readers pay for the personal bills of a blogger?

via plawiuk

via plawiuk

I note that Russell Brown of Public Address has put the begging bowl out.  Now that he has no regular income but continues to receive regular bills, he’s “rediscovered” that blogging is quite enjoyable, and could people please consider funding him while he’s looking for some more regular income?

At which point, people that paid him to blog, will lose him again as he’s off bringing home the bacon and blogging goes back to a sideline interest that was begotten from his weekly Hard News commitment, and personally hasn’t really gone much beyond that over the years.

But yes.  Blogging is fun, and is extremely rewarding in non-financial terms.  

As my readers will know, my life over the last few years has been difficult in many ways.  Financially, it has been tempting to come to my readers and ask them to help me pay some bills when things were looking impossible.

Readers regularly comment that they would pay if there was a way to do so.  And that’s very rewarding to know.  But what concerns me is that this essentially changes the relationship in a way that can never be reversed.  With payment comes expectations.  And with many payments, come many irreconcilable expectations.

The usual suspects always claim that this blog is a National Party funded mouthpiece.  But that’s just lazy rhetoric.  I regularly get contacted requesting I reconsider, withdraw or change material.  I tell them that they can ask all they want, but no money, no honey.

Regular readers know that my quest to expose troughers, scumbags and dodgy politicians is completely colour blind.

Although I am the front-man and the brand that is Whaleoil, Whaleoil has grown to be so much more than Cameron Slater’s personal blog.  It is now a social and political ecosystem, with many people contributing that will never seek or receive credit.  The information that flows here comes from the full political and social spectrum.

I’ve also been lucky to attract very loyal and hard working volunteers.  Almost a year ago, when Travis and Pete took over from Jitendra, it signalled a change in how the content of Whaleoil was being delivered.  Although I spent some time at Truth, the blog kept on delivering regular posts all day long – not just because I was out of work and filling our disposable time with this enjoyable blogging lark.

Very much opposite to Russell Brown, who blogs because he has more spare time, Whaleoil is delivered every day by people who have full time commitments to fund their lives elsewhere.  It reflects a work ethic that respects you as the audience.  I know you can spend your time anywhere else.  And I am grateful you choose to spend it here.

During this year we’ve been joined by others.  Right now we have Nick, James and Michael who are helping with content every day – and I am so much richer for their commitment.   We have Owl, Policy Parrot and other contributors that prefer to use the Tipline.  I value all your work.  I may not use it all, I may not respond to it all, but I read it all.

So, when times get tough, I don’t need your pity and I don’t need your money.  Although I’m sure I could have both, neither are a sustainable way to run and grow  New Zealand’s most popular non-corporate web site.

What I won’t do is go on the scrounge.   Although I know many of you have it in your heart to help me out when things get bad, I very much respect what we have built together over the years to turn the whole thing into a temporary crutch.

The way you can help is by coming back out of your own free will.  By talking about Whaleoil in your daily lives.  By suggesting stories and pointing out interesting items elsewhere in the news.  The Tipline is open 24/7/365.

Thank you.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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