But, I think there are some free/cost-effective opportunities that would give the biggest boost to the forum, overall.
The biggest thing is what Rady has built the forum upon, and what the backend here looks like. Depending on what solution he initially used, there might be some free (or almost free) plug-ins and expansions that could be useful out of box....or help fulfill a larger task, and save the bulk of time/money.
Have some regular KOL beat writers would be the illest. It would also help grow and really brand the KOL signature stroke: which is to say, the uniqueness of personalities within this community.
The same way Grantland owned and dominated a huge niche of sports writing bc the people behind the ideas had a unique style to the masses....so too does KOL possess this intrinsic distinction to other forums (and intrinsic opportunity).
There are half a dozen prime people I could rattle off top of my head for this.....
How are they "compensated"? It'll obviously be primarily about pride and sense of respect and accomplishment (plus performing work and achieving potential status that could be parlayed into future opportunities...).
But I also think these people could be given special avatars, as well as extra notoriety (their picture? name, etc) in the section where the writing would be getting stored and made public to people.
And on that note, the 2nd big thing I would personally prioritize....which would cost a little money and a lil time....a new design and implementation of this news/blogging/writing area.
Make it simple, intuitive (easy to find articles, and see past articles by given writers, eg), and also some basic features to foster community (users can leave comments on the articles and generate discussion...can neg or +1 opinion pieces, eg).
Rady obviously already has used and built off of a successful forum solution, so I have to imagine the leap to adding such features would be (relatively easy).
I have lots of connections in web design and programming (all located in Central Europe, so extremely competitive pricing too....not to mention many are close friends of mine). And also lots of experience in this area myself.
I'd be happy to offer any helping hands I can; even if it just helping out in brainstorming solutions and doing research into things (which may well yield results were many desirable thing could be accomplished for free, or almost free).
edit -- one more note on the writers and how you get them to write.....personally, whenever I've took the time to create a big post and articulate a particular point of view, I'd have no problem (and might even prefer) if it were just as well made into a legit article/piece of writing. I'm sure many other posters, especially ones who take time to create well-thought out and constructed argumentations, feel the same.