Blogging in the Sunday Herald?

A wee heads-up here for those of you interested in newspapers’ coverage of blogging, following on from this month’s article in The Sunday Times — Scotland.

There might be an article about blogging in the Sunday Herald. I was asked to write a wee piece about the motivation behind blogging but they’ve decided against using it. I don’t know if the whole blogging article has been scrapped though. Probably not; I imagine a fair few bloggers were asked if they wanted to contribute.

Having to write to a word limit is quite difficult. There’s not much legroom. Just one of those things if you’ve only got so much dead tree to print on I suppose. It’s very different to blogging. Here it’s a free-for-all, and I kept on coming across loads of tangents that I wanted to explore. It would have made for a typically messy blog post, but I had to remember to stay concise and to the point.

Since my bit isn’t being used I might as well put it up here. Click to see it.

Update: I should point out that I’ve only concentrated on the political blogging side of things, since that’s what they seemed to be interested in.

A lot of people don’t really know what blogging is, or what it’s for. Blogging has a bit of an image problem. A common definition is that blogs are ‘online journals’ or ‘web diaries’. No wonder some people don’t understand. I mean, who on earth would publish their diary on the internet? More to the point, who on earth would read it?

So what is a blog then? Whenever I’m asked, I cop out and say that there are no rules to blogging. But the key is communication. The best blogs aren’t just somebody’s diary. The ‘blogosphere’ (as some of the more pompous bloggers like to call the network of blogs) is more like a giant conversation. The best blogs are the ones that engage in a discussion. And the debate is vibrant.

One of the things I like so much about blogging is the diversity of opinions on offer. It costs nothing to set up a blog, so it is something that anybody can give a try. Blogs can represent views that you don’t normally hear about so much in the mainstream media, acting as a kind of balance against the press. For instance, American blogs are sometimes seen as ‘successful’ due to the number of scalps they’re said to take. This doesn’t happen in Britain – we have enough tabloids to take as many scalps as you’d want.

But blogs aren’t just about being different in tone. Although bloggers come from all areas of the political spectrum, the blogosphere is heavily populated with those whose views are said to have been marginalised by the mainstream media. Many of the most popular blogs are those written by libertarians. The ‘pro-war left’ is another section of the blogosphere that springs to mind. The diversity of views and the conviction with which they’re held in the blogosphere has challenged me to think over my own views. It’s probably sharpened my mind a good deal as well.

Sure, debates exist outside of the blogosphere. But what voice do I have outside of it? Of course, I could write a letter to a newspaper and receive a far bigger audience. But my letter would only be published on the whim of an editor. I’d rather have a regular audience of a few dozen than a one-off audience of a few thousand. Besides, newspapers are tomorrow’s fish and chip paper; blogs are tomorrow’s top results on Google.

Maybe it was that last bit that put him off!

3 comments

  1. To be honest, they’d have probably edited quite a lot out anyway – especially the references to ‘pompous bloggers’ and ‘tabloids taking scalps’. I suspect what they want is some gushing endorsement of blogging and the weblog community; not an honest report from the ground.

    Anyway, they must have liked your blog to have asked in the first place – so good job!

  2. Thanks 🙂

    Yeah, I could do a gushing endorsement, but you need to appreciate the bad side of blogs aswell. Otherwise people might take them seriously at all I guess.

  3. Of course, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t proffer both sides of the story. I’m just pointing out that they’ll print the copy most aligned with their particular dogma; and they probably don’t want to alienate too may bloggers by allowing home truths – or where would they get their content from?!