When is a blog not an article?

According to an advert this morning on the radio, today’s Sunday Times is featuring all the top blogs (quite what their criteria are I’m not sure). This caused OneMonkey and I to start debating the nature of blogs and modern journalism (yes, our Sunday morning lie-ins are really that highbrow).

Blogs are somehow seen, along with Wikipedia, as some hip and trendy sign of being with-it (daddy-o…): every newspaper and magazine, TV or radio show, author and band seems to want one. Sometimes it fits – a new band that still has time to write their own entries can give a sense of immediacy to their fans by adding random thoughts at all hours of the day, and perhaps inviting their fans to share related thoughts and photos of their own; Maximo Park did this to good effect in the early days. But if I want to read up-to-date news on the situation in Sri Lanka, I want a succinct and informative article, say from the BBC news site, rather than an hour-by-hour account from a journalist on the scene, throwing in their impressions, opinions and personal experiences along with the impartial reporting I’m looking for.

From the other side, blog-type semi-relevant streams of consciousness appear regularly in print – take Charlie Brooker’s column in the Guardian, which is usually an enjoyable rant about something that’s happened during the week, possibly on the scale of national news, but just as likely to be something personal. I’m not saying newspapers shouldn’t print the sort of articles that aren’t necessarily about much except how witty the columnist can be, but maybe they should beware of relying on them too heavily.

Maybe what I’m really saying is why can’t I get paid for doing this?


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