Students get a chance to make blogging pay

On Blogs

February 04, 2007|By Troy McCullough | Troy McCullough,Sun Columnist

If you're a college student who blogs - and, really, are there any college students left who don't blog? - then you'll want to check this out: The Daniel Kovach Scholarship Foundation wants to reward student bloggers for their efforts. The foundation is seeking applicants for scholarships in two categories: general blogging and political blogging.

Applicants must have a 3.0 grade-point average and maintain an active blog. The foundation will select 10 finalists, and in the true spirit of online democracy, the public will be allowed to vote for the scholarship winner.

This is the second year the foundation is offering blog scholarships. Kovach says his motivation is simple: "We believe that everyone deserves a shot at a decent education," he writes on the foundation's Web site. "And we love bloggers. Not for the least of reasons, because we blog, and one of the founders of this site makes a living as a blogger."

"We believe passion is important," he adds. "As the world gets more competitive, those who are passionate about what they do, and work close to their passions, will be able to become and stay successful even as technology and automation eat away at many business models. Those who are willing to share their experiences with the world help make the world a better place, even if most bloggers only consider blogging a hobby."

Last year's winner was Stephen Yellin, a Drew University student who blogs under the name "Mr. Liberal" on Daily Kos (mrliberal.dailykos.com). He received $5,000. Runners-up were Georgia Tech student Paul Stamatiou (paulstamatiou.com) and University of Michigan doctoral candidate Shelley Batts (www.scienceblogs.com/retrospectacle), who received $1,000 each.

This year's general blogging scholarship has been doubled to $10,000.

And noting that the winner of the 2006 scholarship was a political blogger who received a big voting boost from his Daily Kos peers, Kovach writes: "We ... realized it's very hard for others to compete with political bloggers when it comes to rallying votes. Instead of banning political bloggers from entering this year's Blogging Scholarship without any compensation, we decided to create a separate scholarship just for political bloggers. With the 2008 presidential election run-up already well under way bloggers figure to play a big role in the next election."

Applicants for the political blogging category will vie for a $2,000 scholarship, and bloggers of all political stripes are welcome to apply.

The application process for both categories is free and as simple as can be: Applicants can apply directly on the foundation's Web site at www.scholarships-ar-us.org/our-scholarships. Applicants will need to include a few vital statistics about themselves and write a very brief essay of 300 words or less.

The deadline for the 2007 general blogging scholarship is not until the end of October, but if you're interested in the political category, you'll have to scramble - the deadline for applying is 9 EST tonight. (Let's be honest: If you're a political blogger who can't whip out a 300-word essay on short notice, you probably shouldn't be entering in the first place.) It's hard to think of a reason why student bloggers shouldn't apply for these scholarships, and one very good reason why they should: All those countless hours sitting in front of a computer and avoiding homework might actually start to pay off.

Listen to Troy McCullough's podcasts at baltimoresun.com/onblogs.

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