Blogs, Webzines and the Money Question

There's been much ado about blogging these past years, but whatever happened to the Webzine? Our writer sits down with Eddie Codell, organizer of Webzine 2005, on the eve of the conference.

At the core of much of the great innovation on the Web in recent years is the independent publisher: the blogger meticulously tagging her content and tweaking her RSS code into the wee hours of the night, or the photo junkie figuring out new ways to post and share his shots of street art across the country in real-time.

And independent publishing online is only growing. According to a Pew Internet study,a new weblog is created every 7.4 seconds, yielding an average of 12,000 blogs per day.

But what about webzines?

This weekend in San Francisco, many webzine and online publishing innovators will meet at Webzine 2005—"a real world, face-to-face celebration of independent publishing on the Internet."

The conference is relaunching after a four-year hiatus and will feature panels on such topics as "Levelling the Playing Field: Journalism Online" and "Podcasting: The Democratization of Broadcast?"

We spoke to conference organizer Eddie Codel about the Billboard Liberation Front,the "vlogosphere", and making—or not making—money off independent publishing.

So we havent seen the Webzine conference in a while. Where have you been hiding all this time?

The irrational exuberance of the dot-com era sucked up a lot of our energies. It wasnt until this year that things really seemed to change. So many more people are blogging, creating, expressing themselves. Many new tools make it easier for new people to publish. The technology hurdles are reduced, while the breadth of options for publishing have increased.

Who do you think has more influence, either culturally or politically, right now: a widely read blogger or a widely read webzine? Do you think people are more likely to respond to an individual or collective voice online?

I consider a blog a form of a webzine, so its not really an either-or question. That said, blogs and other webzines are just mediums to deliver a message. Whomever has the more interesting message within a given set of mediums is gonna get heard, no matter if they are an individual or a collective. Politically, DailyKos and Drudge are intensely popular individual webzines, but they still wouldnt be what they are without input from their readers on the net. Same thing with BoingBoing,which is a collective effort. BoingBoing also relies on contributions from its readers. To me, the more successful blogs or webzines are the ones that value and utilize input from their readers. It enables the audience to "be the media" in a sense.