Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Agony uncle Phillip Hodson on the reason newspaper columnists plunder their domestic lives for copy:

A column is a relentless thing and unless you recycle material it's difficult to come up with new things to write about.

A little more ammo for the blogging/old media war, methinks.

In vaguely related news, the local ban on the blogspot domain, which was temporarily lifted on Sunday, seems to be back on. I'm working through a proxy, which is OK, except that: a) I'm still having trouble posting comments, which makes me feel like - to dredge up a couple more tenuous analogies - Polonius behind a mysteriously soundproof arras, or possibly Rose without a webcam; and b) it can be molar-grindingly slow, like an ironically retro attempt to recreate the glory days of dial-up. So please excuse a slight air of detachment for the foreseeable.

PS: Many thanks to Charles Frith who's directed me to Webwarper. I look forward to popping up in your boxes again. As it were.


Annie said...

Columnists? Aren't they only once a week? Pah, part-timers...

Hurry back Tim!

patroclus said...

The fact that columnists and bloggers are both plundering the same resources for their writing is just another reason why (some) paid columnists need to up their game a bit if they want to provide something of superior quality.

Or put another way, columnists shouldn't be surprised - or disdainful - that people enjoy reading blogs, if they freely admit they're writing exactly the same sort of stuff themselves.

Billy said...

One reason columns aren't as good as blogs is the interactive element blogs have.

Spinsterella said...

Also - I think - because bloggers write when they feel like it, so what they produce is fresh and lively, and the person who wrote it is fully engaged (even if a bit drunk).

I imagine that even if you were getting paid a gazillion quid by the Torygraph to write a column every week, it'd still become WORK after a while, and you'd find yourself at 9pm on Tuesday night or whatever thinking "oh cocking fuck, I've got to do that bloody column by the morming, can't be arsed."

Tim F said...

Be fair, Annie. Columnists who write about real subjects (politics, finance, education, even golf) that requires research and fact-checking, often write far more. Whereas people who write about how amusing it is that the au pair's never heard of artichokes squeeze out 500 words, then need to lie down for the next six days.

Yes Patroclus, they're writing about the same things - but the columnists' things are happening in better postcodes.

Billy: Which is why it's so funny to see newspaper columns wedged into crypto-blogs like CiF. Those columnists do not like it up 'em.

Spin: Torygraph columnists don't say 'cocking fuck'. They pay a little man to say it for them.

patroclus said...

>>The columnists' things are happening in better postcodes.<<

I've noticed that. I always thought journalism was terribly badly paid - but then the next thing I know I'm looking at the style editor of Grazia's well-appointed five-storey West London townhouse splashed across six pages of Living Etc.

Although maybe this explains that weird article in the Guardian the other week, all about how strange it is that people are still buying fripperies when mortgage payments are going through the roof. It's because most people are still renting, you bubble-headed morons!

llewtrah said...

Kathryn Flett and India wossname (Knight?) were culprits. Tedious, self-indulgent twaddle. Take them out and shoot them and save us having to endure the whining. Actually the "Him Indoors" column on the same page as those two was also about domestic life, but was amusing.

Spinsterella said...

Journalism IS very badly paid (outside the Big Papers).

I know a fully qualified news reporter of several year's standing for a major regional paper who is on £15K. (Don't like the vain cow much, mind.)


a senior editorial position with shitloads of responsibility at a sexy mag nearby me was advertised a while back at £15-17K.

Tim F said...

Patroclus: I do get the feeling that the 'him indoors' these people write about (apparently spending his entire life watching Sky Sports and scratching his scrotum) is actually a hugely wealthy finance director who keeps the hack in the manner to which she has become accustomed.

Llewtrah: Kathryn Flett used to be good; then she started writing about the least interesting thing in the world (herself) and the wheels came off. India Knight has always been chicklit with delusions of grandeur.

Spin: And bear in mind that the Rowntree foundation just concluded that the minimum a single adult needs to maintain self-respect is £13,400...

Spinsterella said...

yeah, I saw that, looked a bit closer, turns out it didn't include rent.

Bit different now, eh?