With bloggers such as the Poynter Institute’s Jim Romenesko earning an annual salary of almost $170,000 for his efforts, it would appear that the age of blogging for a living is upon us. A media institute like Poynter seems more likely to have a celebrity blogger making six figures, but what about the idea of a patronage system like the one that supported DaVinci, Michelangelo, and the other ninja turtles during the renaissance? That is the game plan being implemented by well-known blogger Jason Kottke.

Kottke quit his job as a web designer in early 2005 as the first step in an experiment to see if he could survive on patronage alone. So far, so good. He is still at it, though he did decide to take Labor Day weekend off. Artists. I tell ya!

Another wrinkle in the future business model of blogging is the corporate blogger. This variation-on-a-flack stratagem is geared towards giving corporations a fresh face and providing key publics with timely information. As WSJ.com mentions, these bloggers don’t make nearly what a celeb like Romenesko pulls down. But I must say, in the world of flackery, it seems to be the place where some heart and soul might filter into the bottom line.

As a relative newbie to the world of blogging, certainly new to following it this closely, I would have to choose Directnic.com’s in-house blog as one of the best efforts thus far to reach key publics. Originally created as a personal blog, this has become a tool to bring the outside world a look inside the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Directnic.com’s Michael Barnett has catapaulted himself into position as a media darling based on his impassioned response to inhumanity that he saw going on around him. Barnett’s musings have become a must-read for those wanting the inside track on the progress in New Orleans.

Blogs cannot be ignored. Their power and immediacy have brought down media giants. As this information venue continues to develop into a money-making scheme, experiments with advertising, subscription, and patronage systems are likely to continue. Personally, I would love to see a renaissance of patronage. The most romantic of the three models I mentioned, it would allow professional blogging to become something more than the musings of an individual or corporation. The arts might even find a foothold in a blogger’s space, spawning modern masterpieces as-yet untold.

Blogs have been around for years but were only discovered by the mainstream media during Rathergate. Who would have thought that the ugliness of partisan politics would have the ability to spawn a resurrection of the arts?