Friday, November 04, 2005

The end of the columnist?

Journalism is like blogging, only you get paid. Though my Google Adsense feature has made me, oh, seven of your US dollars in the past three, err...months.
I used to be a journalist, and on occasion still am. I have been a regular columnist, paid (sometimes handsomely) for The Scotsman, The SundayHerald, Scotland on Sunday, the Daily and Sunday Express, South African Sunday Life, Big Issue in Scotland, Northwords Magazine, New Statesman Scotland and several more I have conveniently forgotten. And the Shetland Times.
My last vestige of weekly columnisation was dispensed with this week, following the final, somewhat abrupt demise of Nippy Sweetie in the Shetland Times, my local paper. Check out the archive here...and note - the column was not dropped, and my stopping has nothing to do with the imminent arrival of a new editor. It's more like a combination of sheer laziness and a desire to rationalise my activities. A daily radio show, two weekly national cartoon scripts, frenzied restoration of a house and family life is enough for the moment, I think.
And the blogging. Because surely the blog is the future of the column. I note that the excellent Kirk Elder is now a resident of the blogosphere. And the sackings at The Scotsman of former colleagues, among them the excellent Simon Pia (looks very like a cynical/pragmatic culling of the highest paid to me) probably indicate that the future of the "personal" or "human interest" column may be hereaboots in blogland. If only we could get some decent money for our rantings...
However, we don't have to deal with sub-editors. A good thing. Mostly. But then you end up revising and polishing, not to mention removing actionable items, day after day after day...for example, the notion that Gillian Glover was among those leaving. It seems she's not.

1 comment:

Kirk Elder said...

Thank you, Mr Beat, for your kind words. Your column on newspaper columnists brought back some uncomfortable memories from the grey sands of my sub-conscious. I felt like Mr Gregory Peck in Spellbound: there were huge floating eyes, giant scissors and a faceless, orange-skinned man in a tuxedo.