5:33:05 PM # your two cents 
Let us now sing praises of unilaterally created parallel journalistic universes! (They work for me.) Wow. Come into the Information Age, Hartford Courant! From today's Editor & Publisher:
Courant Editor Brian Toolan recently told Courant Travel Editor Denis Horgan that he could no longer publish commentary on his Web log, DenisHorgan.com. Horgan is a former columnist for the paper who was transferred to the travel writing position earlier this year.
After losing his column, Horgan decided to set up his own Web page, where he has commented on everything from baseball to the Iraqi information minister to same-sex unions. "It kept me happy and gave me a chance to keep doing things that I wanted to do," Horgan told E&P Online. "I do it on my own time, from my own house. I'm not competing with the Courant. I'm not looking for advertisers. In fact, it costs me money to do this."
But Toolan sees it differently. "Denis Horgan's entire professional profile is a result of his attachment to The Hartford Courant, yet he has unilaterally created for himself a parallel journalistic universe where he'll do commentary on the institutions that the paper has to cover without any editing oversight by the Courant," Toolan said. "That makes the paper vulnerable."
The editor added that allowing an employee to set up his own opinion blog was a bad precedent. "There are 325 other people here who could create similar [Web sites] for themselves," Toolan said.
And hey, I hope they do. I can't imagine my bosses at the Irish Times feeling this way -- especially towards a columnist, paid to write opinion pieces. Doh! I can offer more of my opinions (whether you want 'em or not!) right here, blog-fresh. My editors see that as a good adjunct to my columns, not a detraction to the integrity of the paper. Sheesh.
2:55:28 PM # your two cents 
William Gibson is ending his weblog. A story to this effect should run later today on Wired.com (by yours truly -- I'll link when they get it up) but here's some advance notice. In my interview Tuesday with Gibson, one of the longer topics of discussion was blogging. His site is a daily visit for me -- an utterly fascinating compendium of background to bits of his novels, his personal interests, his current reading, his responses to readers, all written in that funny and fluid voice. A magpie site full of little pleasures. Makes no difference whether you even know who he is; the site is quite simply an excellent site by an excellent writer.
But he says he fears writing on a daily basis will damage the process he needs to go through as he starts thinking about his next novel. I can get this completely -- I think there's something in the creative process that needs to stay submerged and allowed to ferment in darkness. On the other hand, I find writing here enables my journalistic writing -- helps me work through ideas, get feedback. But I write short pieces that go to print quickly.
Gibson started the blog in January, after Pattern Recognition had gone to press and in advance of beginning his book tour. He's at the tail end of the latter now, winding down through Ireland and the UK. Once the tour ends, he says he'll end the blog, probably within the next few weeks, though he's really enjoyed the blogging process.
His comments: "I do know from doing it that it's not something I can do when I'm actually working. Somehow the ecology of writing novels wouldn’t be able to exist if I'm in daily contact. The watched pot never boils." He adds: "I have to go do whatever it is I do, to find the next novel. Writing novels is pretty solitary, and blogging is very social."
We discussed the ways in which blogging is helpful to the writing process, and he noted: "If I were really a novelist of ideas in the way some novelists are, it might well work [to keep blogging] – if I needed to work through political and philosophical ideas. But that's not how I think I work.
"If I expose things that interest or obsess me as I go along, there'd be no need to write the book. The sinews of narrative would never grow. So, I think I'm going to say goodbye to whoever's been following it. Though it's very tempting not to stop. Stop me now!"
He thinks he'll leave the site up -- and maybe, return to blogging once his next novel is done. Check out the Wired piece for more of Gibson on blogging.
I'll be posting my full interview with him here tomorrow, when it also runs in the Irish Times. Friday Update: you can find my complete interview here; Wired has not yet posted the blogging story, however.
10:01:01 AM # your two cents 
9:36:26 AM # your two cents 
9:33:38 AM # your two cents 
From Neil McIntosh, for the Guardian's onlineblog.com. This is, indeed, one of the more... well, exasperating aspects of blogging -- that the A-list names can feel like an exclusive club and horribly incestuous. It reminds me of my years in academia, the small coteries that would assemble around certain theoretical perspectives, which would all talk and write for each other, at worst, in a state of fascination over what each other was saying, often unintentionally dismissive and excluding of the rest of the (usually far more significant) world:
Blogging away at ETech. "It seems that most of the people at O'Reilly Emerging Technologies conference are either authors (especially with O'Reilly) or journalists or bloggers or all three. That includes Dan Gillmor (doing a book for O'Reilly) and Ben Hammersley (just done one). There seem to be at least 30 people blogging away, many of them during sessions. Kottke and Boing Boing are among the blogs listed on O'Reilly's Press Coverage and Weblogs page. Jon Lebkowsky's Weblowsky and Tim Oren's Due Diligence are not. With bloggers blogging bloggers talking, the whole thing feels incredibly incestuous, as The Register's Andrew Orlowski might well have said, if he hadn't already gone in over the top with the notion that you "get the sense that you're staring at a scene that resembles the Scientology cult".
Hmmm. Does anybody actually want 30 different blogs of an event like this? Don't get me wrong -- I'd love to be at ETech and considered flying out to be there (I was at the very first one, when it was the P2P conference). But to me there's something very navel-gazing about so many self-designated sources of news for this one conference, most of whom know each other already. I guess people can argue that so many versions offer choice and perspective. And people are free to do with their time what they will. But, even with a strong interest in this area and this conference -- I can't imagine what I'd want to read all those blogs for -- or even a small sample of them. I think I'd stick with Neil, above, for the healthy dose of cynicism.
9:31:32 AM # your two cents 
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