The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Thursday, July 29, 2004


Bloggers prove useful?!

I've studiously avoided the DNC bloggers, the much-hyped web diarists who have willingly subjected themselves to days on end of convetioneering, apparently for PayPal donations, recognition, and bragging rights.

Globe Technology editor Jack Kapica has been paying attention, and clues into the bloggers' use: the local angle on the convention, something abandoned by most smaller newspapers and broadcasters after a few mergers and management's "brilliant idea" that it is better to have a handful of reporters feeding dozens of papers (or stations) rather than each one having their reporter in Ottawa (or Washington.) Way down in the article:
What they're all skirting around saying is that Big Media are no longer satisfying the regional needs of the politically active community. With newspapers losing ground to television, people who want to know what's happening must absorb it the way TV news presents it: As a national story, with pundits from the national stage analyzing the events.

If you're from a smaller state, you're stuck with the perspective of the big three networks' Washington-based or New York-based reporters. CNN, which at least offers more news, puts up pundits who have erased almost all regional flavour from their interests and their accents and, asked to represent extreme and opposing viewpoints, think of what they do as balance. And the Fox News network represents an ideology, not a region.
Bloggers are rushing in to fill a void, one that was once held by local newspapers, who sent reporters as representatives of a constituency back home to report on major events in the way that mattered to their communities. Consolidation of ownership in the media has largely done away with that.

When Conrad Black — before his current concerns — controlled the Southam newspaper chain, he couldn't see why each of his 48 newspapers needed a reporter on Parliament Hill. He could save a fortune by having only one, feeding that reporter's stories to all the member papers. Having so many in Ottawa was a "needless duplication of services," he was fond of saying.

His idea was eventually shot down, presumably because publishers of the member newspapers knew something Mr. Black didn't — that communities want to hear about things that matter to them specifically.

The presence of all the bloggers at the two political conventions suggests that there is still a need for the local angle in information, even if it isn't done with much professionalism (at least not yet). And that need suggests that stripping local news out of a newspaper is a better way of killing it than of making it more profitable.
<>Hmm. Imagine that: readers and viewers, when offered only generic reportage aimed at no place in particular, jump to observers, such as they are, who can relate all these promises and rhetoric to their part of the world. CanWest Global, are you paying attention?

Actually, the paying attention department at CanWest was recently eliminated -- it represented a needless duplication of services.
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