Mark Zuckerman, who has made a total of 17 posts on his nascent blog, has raised $10,000 (and counting) with said blog, and it’s only taken him four days to do it.
Zuckerman, you see, was one of many who lost his job when The Washington Times axed its sports department. He’d been with the Times since 2001, covering the Nationals since baseball returned to D.C. in 2005.
Frustrated by the job market and seeing a gap in coverage, he created a new Nats blog, Nats Insider, on February 1. On February 8, Monday, he asked his readers and anyone else to give him $5,000, enough money to cover the expense of going to Florida to cover Nats Spring Training. He reached his goal in a day.
Here to explain how that happened, what it means and what lies ahead is Zuckerman himself …
1. You’ve raised almost $10,000. About what you expected?
Not at all. I never expected anything close to this kind of support, especially so fast. Truthfully, I was worried there wouldn’t be enough time to get to $5,000, with pitchers and catchers reporting only 11 days after I began the campaign. The response I’ve gotten, with so many people contributing who’ve never even met me … well, it’s been overwhelming and very humbling. I can’t say thank you enough to everyone.
2. Where have the donations come from?
From all over the place, in all kinds of amounts. Some have come from loyal readers who I’ve gotten to know over the last five years. Some have come from people who have no affiliation to Washington and had never heard of me before this. And some have come from family members and friends. I’ve also heard from many people who weren’t able to contribute money but wanted to express their support. So, really a cross-section of all kinds of people.
3. With more money coming in than expected, do you plan on carrying this over into the season?
I wish I had an answer for this now, but to be honest, I just don’t know yet. I never expected to surpass my goal by such a substantial amount. I’ve been trying over the last few days to come up with some ideas how best to proceed once the regular season begins, but it’s just too early to really come up with a firm plan. As incredibly generous as everyone has been, the money I’ve raised so far is only a fraction of what it would cost to cover an entire 162-game season, home and away. And this doesn’t even take into account the fact I’m not receiving a salary. Between my severance money from the Times and some freelance work I’ve lined up, I can make it through March. But once April comes, I’m going to need actual income of some type.
4. Salary aside, how much would it take to cover season-long expenses?
Probably around $30,000.
5. Do you think this may be a sustainable career model?