From Conde Nast Portfolio writer to a Web journalist

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Sheelah Kolhatkar writes for the New York Times on Sunday how former Conde Nast Portfolio writer Paul Smalera has made a career of writing for the Web after being laid off from the magazine when it closed.

Kolhatkar writes, “Paul was so bitter about what had happened to him that rather than wait for the bloggers to come for him, he did one better: he wrote a rant about his former employer and sent it to Gawker, which posted it in its entirety (‘Inside Fort Polio: A Former Staffer on What Went Wrong,’ the headline read).

“Assessing his next move, he knew that magazines and newspapers were not options — they were almost all shedding staff, and people with far more experience than he had were looking for work. ‘The Web was the only place I was going to go,’ he said. ‘I decided that without the heft of a big print magazine pushing my work out there that I needed to push it out there myself, and make sure that people who might be interested saw it.’ He entered the sea of tiny cutout heads broadcasting thoughts and opinions all day online. He tweets; he has an e-mail list; he posts links to his articles.

“And he scratches out his living through piecework, mostly by writing for an online business magazine that pays him $500 per article around once a week, and $50 each for a handful of shorter postings. He also writes a blog for a Web outfit that pays him $250 a month to try to generate traffic for its site. He is making progress; some larger Web sites and even print publications have asked him to contribute. ‘What are the goals now?’ he said. ‘I don’t even think about it in those terms right now. I’m just happy to be writing regularly. I’m treating it as a month-to-month thing.’”

Read more here.