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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Newspaper blogging

The ever-lively GalleyCat comments on a survey just released by the Online Journalism Blog, which reveals how deeply blogging has affected the traditional print media.

"We'd hazard a guess that at least 60 percent of all authors are doing some sort of blogging," observes editor Jason Boog, and strongly suggests that those authors should be comparing notes. How has blogging affected the style and depth of their writing? And has it provided an extra platform for telling great tales?

One respondent has already reported that he or she now thinks in hyperlinks. As an editor for the Indian news site, Instablogs, I would heartily concur with that: it is like the old days of writing academic papers, when thorough footnoting was vitally necessary, simply to protect one's scholarly reputation. URL links provide the same kind of cover-your-back credibility. I also find I think in photographs, as images give such a vivid dimension to the story.

In fact, I am seriously considering turning in my next book proposal in blog-post form, complete with links and wonderful pix.

An aspect allied to newspaper blogging I particularly enjoy is the "comments" section, where readers post their opinions of whatever has been reported or discussed, often with a blithe disregard of the proprieties. Many are ignorant, misspelled, and badly phrased, and rely far too heavily on foul language. Others, however, are wonderfully eloquent, and at times have a tongue-in-cheek humor.

A perfect example of this is the commentary to a BBC report of the drunken behavior of the graduating class of an exclusive Australian boys' school. Much of it was the usual outcry to "bring back the cane," plus a few reminiscent remarks from old boys of the school. But then there was "Sheila Outrigger of Melbourne."

"It was disgusting, these young lads were urinating in my fish pond, and kicking over my gnomes. I have never seen anything like it, I have lived here for 28 years, and my gnomes have never been attacked like this before," she exclaimed.

"They beheaded five of my gnomes and knocked over my brand-new bird bath," chimed in "Lucinda R.," also of that city. "It's a disgrace, they have no respect for others, and I blame, as always, the parents."

The entire class has been suspended from school. Undoubtedly, the gnomes are delighted.

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