Why Blatchford won’t blog

Admits Christie Blatchford in a Globe and Mail column titled, I’m not blogging this, mark my words: “I have written some astonishingly banal columns in my life, and some very personal ones.”

Um …. yes. Indeed, the cringe factor makes me think twice about reading whenever I spot a Blatchford byline. And yet I do sometimes read Blatchford, because gems can sometimes found within the emotional baggage that piles up around her storylines the way junk gets spread around a good Walnut side table in a yard sale.

If you read down far enough in Blatchford’s rant from Beijing about blogging, editing and the quality of journalism, you’ll find some of Blatchford’s wisdom and humour at its too-rare best. Excerpts:

“It is not true that anyone can write. It is not true that anyone can write on deadline. It is not true that anyone can do an interview…. But the odds of them doing it are greatly increased if they haven’t already filed 1,200 words to the Web, shot a video, done a podcast and blogged ferociously all day long.”

“When my cohort first started out, we would get actual letters, often written in beautiful handwriting on creamy stationery….  in the blogosphere, what follows isn’t usually a conversation but a brief, ungrammatical shouting match. You can have more pensive chats in a bar fight.”

“And journalism wasn’t meant to be a conversation, anyway. It was maybe a monologue, at its most democratic a carefully constructed dialogue. If readers didn’t like or agree with the monologues in paper A, they bought paper B. What was most important about their opinions was that they thought enough to spend the coin.”

Oddly, the stream-of-consciousness that marks Blatchford’s style has a modernistic quality that’s become recognizable as …. dare I say it? …. blog-like.