Newspaper publishes entire month of weblogging by Brian Dear

· Journalism

I was half tempted to call Brian Dear by the name most journalists give him in their haste, Brian Storms, (because his blog is of course named brianstorms as a play on the word brainstorms) but I resisted the urge.
That reminded me of when the band Brian Brain was playing somewhere like King Tut’s in Trenton and the student who called around to get the local listings for the weekly paper I edited (“The Nassau”) misheard them on the phone message as saying that “Giant Brain” was on the bill. She also copyedited Gimme Shelter so it read Grimy Shelter but this is getting well into make-it-a-footnote-at-best territory.
So where was I? burying the lead… burying the lead… Oh, right!
OK, so Brian is a fellow writer and student of human nature and a mainstay of the independent blog conference on the Well and he tipped us off there a few weeks ago that the San Diego Reader had offered him a tidy sum for the right to reprint an entire month’s worth of entries from his blog (about 8500 words plus photos) as their cover story this week.
They asked him not to write anything with the paper in mind but just keep doing exactly what he’s been doing. This was their unique approach to introducing the weblog concept to their readers, I suppose, and Brian is absolutely an exemplar.
The issues hits the streets Thursday, June 10. Brian will be posting about it then (and I’ll update the link from this entry after that), but he told me, “Since you were the first blogger anywhere to ask for the scoop, you got it!”
I asked him to tell me how the offer came:

The editor emailed me in mid-April, right out of the blue, proposing that I submit 8000 words’ worth of brianstorms blog material over the next 30 days, and he would pay upon acceptance. So I said ok. 30 days later, I emailed him a Word document containing about 90% of what I’d posted between mid-April and mid-May. A few days later I found out they accepted it, and then I got a check in the mail a few days after that.
The editor just simply liked the way I wrote, and was intrigued with the rise of blogs as a personal publishing phenomenon. He told me, just write like you’ve been writing, don’t write for the Reader, just keep blogging like usual, which is what I did.
I have no idea what they think the appeal is to readers – I think the editor is just trying an experiment. I regularly include photos/images in
my blog articles, and I included those image files with the submission. So apparently they’re running all the images as well.
As for links, that was and continues to be a concern – how they’re going to represent links in the article. Sounds like they’re going to include
hardcoded URLs here and there, but if people really want all the links, they’d have to go to the real blog and find the actual article and click
away.

I’ll ask Brian to tell us what kind of traffic boost he gets from this.
Interestingly, Brian’s current entry at the moment, Tragedy at Bird Rock represents weblogger-driven eyewitness journalism at its best.
UPDATE: Brian has put up his take on the experience at brianstorms (An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse). No doubt this link will set off a recursive echo flurry of trackback pings.