Column + blog = clog

If everyone is talking, who’s listening? Globe and Mail columnist Roy MacGregor wonders about “how profoundly things have changed” in the news business, in a recent column introducing his shift from writing This Country to writing

He wrote:

“Of course not. If experience has taught those of us in the journalism business anything, it is that the mushrooming world of blogging – ‘writing out loud,’ American author Andrew Sullivan calls it – is almost entirely dependent on the shrinking world of reporting.

There is nothing wrong with comment, but a great deal wrong with comment that has nothing to comment on but other comment.

In some form – somewhere, perhaps, between the printing press and telepathy – old-fashioned journalism will have to survive simply to feed the beast.

And so, we experiment. Last week, The Globe and Mail, which has long led the digital field in Canadian journalism, launched a redesigned website.

This week, This Country becomes – a hybrid between column and blog, a ‘Clog,’ as we jokingly refer to it around the office. We hope it will serve as a ‘bridge,’ if you will, between our newspaper and our website.”

MacGregor recalls other changes he’s seen in the industry, from the introduction of the “portable computer” to the 24-hour news cycle to the shift from letters to the editor to online comments. While he’s sure the Web is “the place of enormous, much of it unimaginable, potential” he also notes, in regard to reader commnets online: “If truth is the first casualty of war, then reflection, it might be argued, was the first casualty of the Web.”