blatchford on blogs

by Hugh

Globe columnist Christie Blatchford wrote an article about blogs … with the tiresome old complaint, “blogs are like little girls’ diaries” etc etc. and ended: “I do not blog, I have not blogged, I will not blog and, furthermore, I do not care to read blogs.”

So, being the old crank that I am, I sent her an email:

you probably have many emails from angry “bloggers” already, but i always bang my head against the table when i read things by writers who don’t read blogs explaining why blogs are bad. “blog” is a stupid word that defines this: a way to transfer text from one set of typing fingers to a number of eyeballs. some of that text is crap, some of it good, some of it extraordinary; but a text’s goodness or crappiness is not determined by the mode of transportation (ie blog vs newspaper vs book vs magazine).

goodness and crappiness are traits independent of the mode of transportation, and i will lay down a challenge to you: you provide 5 examples of excellent pieces of newspaper writing and I will provide 5 excellent pieces of blog writing, and we do a blind taste test on some famous smart people, and see which they pick as the better text. i suspect there will be no difference.


her response (which I was surprised to receive):

such a contest would be fair only if we confine the parameters…in other words, no fair if i offer five great bits of toronto writing, and you pick five from the web. let’s say five examples of good newspaper writing from Toronto writers and/or bloggers. what say you?

and my reresponse:

ha! well, that was a surprise.

so the problem with your premise is that you’re nixing one of the great distinctions between the web and print: while you are stuck with whatever the Star & Globe editors want to give you in their pages, I have the full universe of the net to choose from. score 1 for blogs. though I think it’s a big mistake to see these two means of transporting text in opposition. they aren’t, they are complementary (as are books, magazines and newspapers).

further, i don’t really read toronto web writers that i can think of. and since the globe is a national newspaper, how bout we limit the geography to canada? and i think we also have to further constrain things for fairness: no “hard news” articles … instead it should be commentary/columns/op-ed etc.

by the way, can i blog about this? including quoting your email?

no answer after a week, so i blogged about it anyway.