Kevin: The Nieman Journalism Lab looks at micro-sponsorships for beat-blogging at the MinnPost. It's very much like day sponsors for NPR stations, where they ask supporters for a small donation for their names to be read out on-air during the day. However, the idea is sound. Allow local fans and local businesses to make small payments of support. It does requirre beat bloggers to build up a sufficient audience, but it's not difficult. And the size of the audience isn't as important as the relevance, which is what we've seen with niche blogging in other areas. Relevance and other qualitative factors are possibly more important than the size of the audience for niche blogs, such as beat blogs.