Wednesday, July 08, 2009

There's just one one problem ...

... Newspaper columnists ought to be the perfect bloggers. So why aren't more doing it well?

And what might that problem be? Most columnists are afraid of readers, and don't want to engage them. I know what I'm talking about here. Beau Blue, who posts comments here from time to time, usually disagrees with me - and I usually disagree with him, at least to some extent. But boy, would I miss his comments. How would I replace him.?And why the hell do we all have to agree on everything. I know this much about Beau: He is one hell of an interesting character. I also think he feels more deeply about poetry than a lot of well-known poets. And I could never have known anything about him were it not for the internet.


  1. There's no money in it. Columnists write for newspapers and magazines that pay them money. When the newspapers and magazines go away, so does the money, and so do the columnists. This is not so hard to understand.

  2. I'm not so sure, Roger. I mean, yes, they write for money. So did you. So did I. But I have watched people in the newsroom angling for a column - and so did you, I am sure. They wanted to columnists, not reporters. They wanted to opine from on high, be authorities, pundits, the people hoi polloi came to in order to understand what is going on. They were not interested in what hoi polloi thought or felt.

  3. They earned their bread by reporting and editing for publications. If some could realize an ambition to be a (paid) columnist, that was gravy on the bread. If not, they remained reporters and editors (or went off to something else -- the wiser ones), they did not go off and become unpaid columnists with no or limited audiences for the honor and glory of it.
    Speaking for myself, I write strictly for money or for the hope of it. I maintain, God knows why, a moribund blog that consists almost entirely of things I wrote earlier -- for money. It grows ever more moribund and unattended as the pointlessness of it becomes ever clearer to me.

  4. When the newspapers and magazines go away? When is that ever going to happen? And if you mean 'when the ink goes away' .. well, that's what all the hand-wringing is really about, isn't it.

    "There's no money in it." is just not true, Roger. There's a billion people audience on the net. At least some of 'em have spent way more than a buck because of something they learned about from the net, right?

    ESPN's website has an 'insiders' subscriber area. It seems the sports website's columnists are out in front on this. ESPN pushes their ink zine on their website and their website in their ink zine. Hedging their bets I suppose.



    "Just because your name gets mentioned? You're shameless."

    "It's impossible to have no shame and no money at the same time."