diamond geezer

 Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Are blogs like newspapers, or are newspapers like blogs? I only ask because, reading my paper on the train this morning, it felt instead like I was at home sat at my computer clicking through blogworld. I should say that I'm not talking about the main part of the newspaper here (that's the part where the real news now starts on page 12), but the quirkier pullout magazine-like type section. Today there was someone writing about what it's like to give up smoking, an article about new mothers' use of internet chatrooms, a 'what kind of hypocrite are you?' quiz, a review of last night's excellent post-Newsnight TV dramas, a piece on the booming birth rate nine months after England's World Cup campaign last summer (see my page yesterday), a tinned menu for emergency bunker cuisine (see my page last Tuesday) and a brief history of tea in Britain and how to brew it. Add to this a selection of articles about "pre-page-12 news" from a variety of original angles, and it all looks very much like the content of any ten typical amalgamated blogs. On Monday the newspaper lifted a whole three pages word-for-word from the online diary of the Baghdad blogger, a series continued today, and then today there's also another whole page listing the rules for an imaginary drinking game. Admittedly the imaginary drinking game is fantastic, but it seems that the press may have crossed a thin here line in reprinting whole chunks of web content in order to fill newspapers. (If you're reading this in tomorrow morning's edition, I do hope the editor's paid me at current journalistic rates). But I still wonder how long it will be before newspapers really do look like blogs. Or is that until blogs look like newspapers?

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