It’s interesting to see the way that some writers reflect on their writing process and the meaning of the journalism work they do in a blog form…and also how this relates to the difficulty of classifying blogs as narrative types.  This musing is from  Elizabeth Withey at the Emonton Journal, who in the same weeks wrote about topics as diverse as being a bridesmaid and Edmonton provincial politics: 

I’m having trouble writing about all my Ontario adventures last week because I feel preoccupied and distressed about the situation in the Middle East. Everything I’d write about — the humidity, the dizzying (and nauseating) abundance of multi-coloured Crocs footwear, the wine sampling in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the sour milk I accidentally drank at the CN Tower — seems so trivial. I can’t imagine going on summer vacation with my family only to find myself stuck abroad in a war zone, terrorized by air raids, unable to get to safety until the government came to rescue me.

In some ways the blog form reminds me of the emergence of the novel as a literary genre, in the sense that suddenly there is a proliferation of personal detail and personal consciousness available through that form.  And it’s neat that so many journalists manage both to do “straight” commentary about politics mixed with personal musings. 


The most J-blogs

July 21, 2006

The Winnipeg Free Press features 15 J-blogs.

J-blogs without email

July 21, 2006

I am surprised that so many j-bloggers don’t post an email address.

Citizen blogs

July 14, 2006

I was confused because I thought “citizen blogs” at the Ottawa Citizen were by….citizens…but this seems to be not the case. 

The Hour & blogs

July 13, 2006

I just saw that the CBC’s the hour links to a number of fanblogs of the show and other blogs (via 

According to this story via Kelblog, this June 2006 California ruling draws a real line in the sand between bloggers and journalists — at least in terms of legal protection.  English here.

Bruns on ‘user’

July 6, 2006

Bruns explores this topic in the conclusion of Gatewatching:  from user to ‘produser.’  

The first casualty of openness is the idea of journalistic objectivity. “  (Bruns – in Gatewatching)

Brun’s view this is a good thing because as Chomsky states, the global media “permit, indeed encourage spirited debate, criticism and dissent, as long as these remain faithfully in the system of presuppositions and principles that constitute an elite consensus, a system so powerful as to be internalized largely without awareness.”     I think here about the roots of the word consensus – sharing together some kind of feeling.  This is interesting to me because the common use of the word focusses on sharing an idea and an agreement as if we are speaking of assenting to parameters or norms [ideas in the mind, rationally agreed upon precepts].  But I hadn’t so much considered the role of feeling in this –  consensus as rather a common agreement to barricade one’s vantage to only be able to see, hence feel certain things.  Confessional J-blogs…

Narrative addiction

July 6, 2006

“Interactivity…reduces our dependency on fixed narratives while giving us the tools and courage to develop narratives together.”    (excerpted from Douglas Rushkoff, Open Source Democracy: How Online Communication is Changing Offline Politics, in Axl Bruns’ Gatewatching).

I wonder what it means to be dependent on a narrative structure — socially, politically, existentially, spiritually.   I think it’s a reality but it’s almost unimaginable how western culture could be transported to a place where unfinished narratives are as satisfying as finished narratives.  Some people might argue that this happened centuries ago, but this doesn’t change the fact that the culture industry (including les medias) make their millions off of closed narrative structures with closure — the modern cohesive subject seeing one thing, reporting.  

“When the one becomes two, what will you do?”   I read this saying in the Gospel of Thomas — people have been asking that for a long time, since the very foundations of a monolithic synthesizing teleological narrative in western culture, but it’s been shunted to the side.   

Many days, I read the paper and I think “what a great lede,” and in the next moment, I think, “why does this story need to be cast so dualistically?”  There is something so compelling, yet so forgetful in the kind of mindless addiction in the kind of rush one gets reading a great lede that just pulls you to resolve the question and finish the A section before work.  I think of Sherlock Holmes: this great detective compelled by clues to find the end resolution was also the opium addict;  the flip underbelly of his scientific precision and chain linking of events, those shadows of crime, the history and back story that won’t be named that in some stories keep him bound to his couch in a haze.  I tend to think of Holmes the individualist racing about and solving things, and in so many ways that kind of detective is the also the reporter archetype — yet in those books, Watson’s voice illuminating the cost to Holmes’ being as as much of the story as Holmes’ detective work.  

Usually I think this when the lede has that pattern of “y thought that z would be the case, but y never knew a.”   Then I ask myself, “How would I write that under deadline in the same news context in a different way?” and I have absolutely no idea.  I don’t know if the daily news context affords that kind of possibility of creating different kinds of stories?