I found myself wondering today whether one possible result of the recession could be a boom in blogging.
This is not based on any concrete facts, just a handful of phonecalls and emails. But I have noticed a slight increase in the number of random people approaching the paper in the last week or so asking about the possibility of writing for us. By random, I mean people without any journalism background or qualifications.
The numbers are still too small to amount to a trend, but it would make sense - if you've just been laid off, or think you might be about to, writing might seem like an attractive second career (if you haven't done your research about the state of the newspaper industry, that is).
Given the chances of getting paid work at a local newspaper this way are very slim right now, I wonder how many will turn to blogging as a way of showcasing their work instead. I'll certainly be suggesting they start doing so for us.
If it does happen, it will be very interesting to see how local newspapers react in areas where there hasn't been a strong blogging presence before. Will they become a real threat? Or will papers and their websites be able to embrace them at the beginning, to everyone's advantage? Here's hoping it's the latter.