Thursday, 17 March 2011

In black and white, now read all over

Whenever I talk to people about the blog, one of the first questions they ask (after “Where do you find the time?”) is “Why do you do it?” It’s a good question, and one to which I’m not entirely sure I know the answer.

There’s a strange paradox implicit in writing a blog – the narcissism of sharing your thoughts with the wider world, combined with the fear that it'll be met with indifference or, even worse, resistance. Sometimes, as I’m sitting cross-legged on the couch, feeling the dead-leg set in, I’m reminded of Agent Dale Cooper in Twin Peaks.

Whenever something important occurred (and many times when it didn’t – it was a slow-moving show), we’d see Dale talking into his Dictaphone, sharing his thoughts with ‘Diane’. Of course, we never actually saw Diane, in fact there was always the nagging doubt that she didn’t really exist. Nonetheless, Kyle McLachlan’s character was able to process his thoughts by capturing them on cassette. And I guess that’s how the blog works for me.

Bloggers get a pretty tough rap from the journalism community, and it’s not hard to see why. There’s no code of ethics, no years of training, and no real discipline. Just a community of people willing to break open their diaries and invite the world in.

However, there are a number of pearls amongst the grit. And sometimes, their writing is as engaging, informative and thought-provoking as anything you’ll find in the more legitimate press. That’s the thinking behind The Printed Blog – an innovative publishing venture started by Joshua Karp a couple of years ago.

He recognized that there are countless undiscovered writers out there, offering up quality content and unrivaled levels of snark, since they’re unrestricted by the corporate interests that sometimes threaten to mute more established writers.

Despite the fact that our media consumption has transformed dramatically in recent years, Karp recognizes that people still enjoy the feel of flicking through pages of a physical magazine, rather than having their iPad simulate the experience for them. So the editorial team of TPB scours the Internet for engaging content, and aggregates it on a weekly basis - the results are then designed, set and printed, and available for subscription as themed editions. Coming soon – The Love Issue, featuring a recent post by yours truly.

But that’s not all folks. Today also marks my first appearance on, another innovative news magazine concept – this one established and edited by James Brown who previously founded Loaded and Jack magazines.

James and his Deputy Editor Matt source content from a number of journalists and bloggers, and update the magazine several times a day. With the traditional printed magazine format looking like it's destined to be memorialized with a diorama in the Natural History Museum, this Huffington Post for blokes is a big step in the right direction. It’s just a shame that my first article on there is about Rebecca Black’s musical incantation to Beelzebub. Oh well, from tiny acorns…

Anyway, please click on the links here and have a look at the Printed Blog and SabotageTimes websites – there’s plenty of great content out there. And I’m proud to be a part of both.

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