May 6th, 2009

After weeks of research and months of waiting, my Spot.Us piece is finally out. “Hard Times: How the recession is affecting San Francisco’s sex industry” got picked up by, which means those community members who were generous enough to donate to support the piece on Spot.Us proper received half their money back. Personally I’m just happy to see the article out and about, after so much time in the editorial ether. Many thanks to the fabulous people at the San Fran institutions mentioned in the piece, including The Lusty Lady, Good Vibrations,, Pink & White Productions, and independent sex worker Peridot Ash. Go read!

The article, as a reminder, was written for the experimental, community-funded journalism site Spot.Us, which raises donations from readers for local interest stories. Though I think the idea behind the site, and the dedication of its founder David Cohen, is admirable, I had a very mixed experience writing “Hard Times.” Because I didn’t want to demand too much of the community, I asked for a fee much lower than my normal pay rate. There were also ethics issues in terms of pinging the business featured in the story to contribute. Then there were the sheer number of delays that come with working with so many people in the publication process. What’s in store for the future of journalism, no one is sure, but I don’t think this model is it.

Tags: better late than never, good causes, gripes, innovation, journalism, my articles, porn, San Francisco, sex, sex economy, sex workers

3 Responses to “‘Hard Times: How the recession is affecting San Francisco’s sex industry’”

  1. Digidave Says:

    Hey Bonnie
    Once again – thank you very much for being a part and working on this piece.

    Actually – I tend to agree with you. I never sell as a silver bullet or saving grace of journalism. It is an experiment and we are learning things all the time. Particularly with this piece – there was too much waiting going on. We were able to refund the donors, but that meant waiting for another organizations publishing cycle.

    We are getting better at it thanks to learning experiences through this story and others. So like it or not – you are helping shape the future of journalism too!!!

    Continue to rock on and be fancy pants (my new favorite phrase picked up from you!).

  2. Woodstock Says:

    Man, that Peridot blog is depressing!

    It’s certainly interesting to see that perspective on the sex industry, but I’m glad that some sex-work-bloggers, like Belle du Jour, seem to enjoy the industry more. I’m sure most people working in it do so because they have no choice, but I like to imagine a future in which a happy, liberated, sex-positive workforce performs a labor of love – pun, of course, intended.

  3. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Yeah, the whole happy, liberated sex worker vs. sad, frustrated sex worker thing is complicated. I’d like to be sex positive and agree with you, and normally I am, but people like Peridot remind me that that can be idealistic and naive, that the actual work is more complicated than good or bad.

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