Cesca talks about his career in the media
Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 22:03
Bob Cesca, a guest at the new media panel of ETSU last week, has always had a desire to get people to care.
“One of the things we used to discuss around my high school newspaper … was how apathetic people were about the political process,” Cesca said. “I think social media has significantly improved civic participation.”
Cesca’s main claim to fame is his political blog, but most of his journalistic experience to this point consists of writing for the Huffington Post from the late ’90s up to 2011.
“I wrote for them for free for a very long time,” Cesca said. “Actually, I still do, but it’s loaded with links to my blog.”
Those links were not always there, but whenever Cesca was attempting to make some money off his journalism, the Huffington Post did not help him out very much.
“Late 2011 I made a serious conscious attempted to create a political-writing career and base my income on that,” Cesca said. “I asked one of the founding editors if I could put a small ad on the bottom of my page, and they flat-out refused … at the end of the next week, every single page had a Google ad on the bottom, so I basically gave them an idea to further monetize their site.”
Although this would have been a setback in creating income for his writing, Cesca allowed the disappointment to fuel his next endeavor. He re-launched his political blog and started making money.
“From there, it’s been the ads on the blog and the podcast is sponsored,” Cesca said.
He thinks the way he creates a living is reflective of the way people in the news media must survive.
Even if a college graduate lands a big news job with a syndicate, to become a household name that person would also have to run a blog, have a Twitter, and most likely connect with people through a podcast or personal website.
“Jobs like Chris Matthew’s Hardball, where he runs a show and pulls in $5-10 million a year just don’t exist any more,” Cesca said.
From gluing stories to a broadsheet during his high school years to hauling stacks out for mass publication with his college newspaper, Cesca is one of several news media reporters who found his way onto the social media stage by route of the old news.
“We had to use the mats and paste things on a broadsheet,” Cesca said. “We had to measure the column inches and figure out what things were going to fit … Now it’s a totally different world.”
A big influence to Cesca’s climb and rededication came when the recession hit in 2008. During that time, he was still working independently as an animator.
“When the economy goes down, nobody spends money on cartoons,” Cesca said. “Eventually I ended up filing for Chapter 7 [bankruptcy].”
He climbed out of that financial hole and progressed through his personal blog.
Now, Cesca is intrigued by the potential that social media offers the modern citizen.
“This new media has democratized journalism,” Cesca said. “It allowed people to not only become exposed to the political process but be directly involved with it.”
Cesca’s blog can be found online at bobcesca.com