Thursday, March 31, 2005

Media Tidbits

Proof that blogging has hit the mainstream: Arianna Huffington will host a blog featuring celebrity writers like Gwyneth Paltrow and Tina Brown, the former editor of Vanity Fair, Talk, and the New Yorker and the future biographer of Princess Diana. (via Mediabistro)

Based in New York and staffed with a full complement of editors, the Huffington Report appears to be a culture and politics webzine in the classic mold of Salon or Slate. It will have breaking news, a media commentary section called "Eat the Press," and its most interesting innovation, a group blog manned by the cultural and media elite: Sen. Jon Corzine, Larry David, Barry Diller, Tom Freston, David Geffen, Vernon Jordan, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Harry Evans and his wife, Tina Brown. That's just to name a few, and Huffington is still recruiting. “

This is interesting, as a few weeks ago Brown criticized bloggers as “the new Stasi,” for lurking everywhere and writing about everyone foibles.

“We are in the Eggshell Era, in which everyone has to tiptoe around because there's a world of busybodies out there who are being paid to catch you out -- and a public that is slowly being trained to accept a culture of finks. We're always under surveillance; cameras watch us wherever we go; paparazzi make small fortunes snapping glamour goddesses picking their noses; everything is on tape, with transcripts available. No matter who you are, someone is ready and willing to rat you out. Even the rats themselves have to look over their shoulders, because some smaller rat is always waiting in the wings. Bloggers are the new Stasi. All the timidity this engenders, all this watching your mouth has started to feel positively un-American.”

Despite that unfortunate comparison, Brown does have interesting thoughts about the media, and its inexorable march into tabloid-ism.

“Mainstream media types spend a lot of time complaining to each other that you can't get real news anywhere anymore. Then we go to work and spend all day pounding to death the same story as everyone else. Counterprogramming? Forget it. No one wants to take their eye off the spinning ball lest they vanish off the face of the earth, including me. (When I started my own humble talk show on CNBC I had visions of long, earnest discussions of literature. Now I bark, "Twenty minutes on William Blake? How about five on Robert Blake.")”

The opposite of blogging must be book writing, if one takes a few minutes and the other takes a few years. But they share one thing in common, according to this article: they are the most at risk legally. They operate without protection from large media companies.

Is it worth it? A few thoughts on the slog of writing book proposals.

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