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Are Newspaper Blogs Dying Out?

We're not fans of blogposts with rhetorical titles here, so sorry about this one. Nonetheless, in this instance it feels oddly appropriate; as reported in The Wall, the New York Times is cutting several of its blogs and plans to review the whole idea of blogging across the title.

To quote from the article,

Dean Baquet, the managing editor of the NY Times, said that the paper was rethinking blogs and suggested that the “golden age of blogs at The Times may be over”:

“Blogs proliferated early on because they were seen as a way for desks and subjects to get into the web game. They taught us a different way of writing and thinking, created a way to move fast on coverage. But I’d argue that as we’ve matured, the sections themselves now act like blogs.”

Eileen Murphy, The NY Times’s spokeswoman expanded on this particularly in reference to the sports blogs.

“In most cases we’re eliminating blogs that essentially duplicate section fronts. Each sport had its own blog and also has its own subsection front on the Web site; same for Media Decoder.

“There are other instances like this and those blogs will also be eliminated at some point. The goal is to decrease confusion for readers about where to find information on various subjects by eliminating the duplication of publishing platforms. We are not reducing our reporting or editing staffs devoted to coverage of any of these subjects.”

Whether or not the formal distinction between 'blogs' and 'news' is still relevant is an interesting question. It's possible to argue that it's a needless differentiation for a media outlet to make any longer - if the only difference is the fact that blogs are a bit more feature-like and have comments enabled, then it strikes us as a fairly arbitrary one. It's reasonable to think that the media has reached a degree of maturity and comfort with online publishing so as to have outgrown the need for category distinctions. If it's being written as part of an organisation with multiple editorial staffers and high traffic figures, should it really be called a 'blog' any more? We'd argue possibly not...

Posted by in Media