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The inmates are running the asylum

Photo by Carlos Miller

Chad of the Brickell Life blog holds up a South Florida Sun-Sentinal Tweetup invitation during Tuesday night's Miami Herald Tweetup.


Photo by Carlos Miller

Chad of the Brickell Life blog holds up a South Florida Sun-Sentinal Tweetup invitation during Tuesday night's Miami Herald Tweetup.

I happen to be an anomaly because I was recently hired as a weekend editor at at a time when journalists all over the country are losing their jobs.

For me, it’s the perfect job because I put in 20 hours a week, including 16 hours on Saturday and Sunday where I am responsible for all the content that goes on the site. The other four hours I spend working on multimedia assignments during the week where I utilize my video, photography and writing skills.

So it allows me to continue operating my media business, which includes working as a senior editor for Miami Beach 411, and doing photo assignments for a regular list of clients. And, of course, it allows me to continue operating this site.

In fact, it was this site that enabled me to get that weekend gig at NBCMiami because they were looking for somebody with a news background that had multimedia skills; a journalist who understands New Media, social networking and online communities.

In other words, the mainstream media is finally catching on to the fact that the digital revolution stops for nobody. You either jump on or you stay behind.

It wasn’t too long ago that I was shunned by the mainstream media because of my arrest and because of this site. They considered me just a little too opinionated. A little too controversial.

And that’s considering that I have a solid background writing for the mainstream media, including four years covering law enforcement in Phoenix for the arizona republic (and yes, there is a reason why I will never capitalize the name of that newspaper on this site).

But all of a sudden I am considered a pioneer in my field because I’ve managed to build a respectable readership with no help from a major corporation. While circulation has plummeted at almost every newspaper, my readership has skyrocketed.

And it’s not just me but people who have absolutely no journalistic training whatsoever. People who have an opinion and a passion and the drive to maintain it on a blog. Some of these people have more loyal readers than many newspapers do.

Just last week, The Miami Herald invited me and a few other South Florida bloggers to its newsroom to provide feedback on its new blog aggregator. The fact that the Herald is even acknowledging the blogosphere is astounding. The fact that they are asking our advice on their new feature is mindblowing.

But the fact is, they’ve also recently laid off 19 percent of its work force so they are desperate for solutions.

Last night, I attended a Tweetup sponsored by the Herald which consisted of local bloggers and their readers as well as people who follow each other on Twitter. This is the same paper whose star columnist denounced Twitter as a waste of time not too long ago.

And not only that, but an employee from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel was handing out flyers announcing its own Tweetup tonight. And they’re even offering free beer, parking and prizes. They would probably throw in a free subscription, if it mattered anymore.

But it doesn’t matter because with each Tweetup, they end up with hordes of new followers who will be clicking on their articles as soon as they get published online.

Earlier today, a friend and former colleague from the arizona republic, who like me, got fed up with that newspaper and launched his own news website in Phoenix called The Zonie Report, won a sizable grant from the  Knight Foundation. 

Adam Klawonn

Adam Klawonn

Adam Klawonn and his partner Aleksandra Chojnacka will receive $95,000 to create The Daily Phoenix, which will essentially promote the new light-rail system in Phoenix through multimedia and social networking methods.

Adam was always a writer but now he is a multimedia journalist, as you can see in the picture.

He, like me, is an Old Media veteran who was not afraid to dive into the New Media headfirst. He was not afraid to put a newspaper as large as the arizona republic behind him.

And it has obviously paid off.

As I said, the inmates are now running the asylum.

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