Monday, April 13, 2009


I have been sitting looking at a blank formatted page. I have to fill that page with 500 words of something reasonably intelligent -- or as intelligent as any bear can be. And I have to submit said 500 words by "close of business" on Thursday. It's called a deadline. Editors have these kinds of expectations of op-ed columnists. Which is fair and legitimate.

The story of deadline, as I was once told, has a military reference. Prisoners of war were kept in an enclosure simply marked by a line on the ground. You crossed the line, and you were dead. Literally.

Not an auspicious or encouraging thought. It's 500 words to the editor of a national newspaper on Thursday, or I'm "dead."

That fact that I have been feeling really depressed of late, and having terrible dreams, is not helping the situation.

So I switched pages and decided to blog. I don't think anyone in the blogsphere is likely to kill me (thought I have met a couple of pretty unfriendly folks -- but only a couple). Most of you are the absolute souls of kindness, and thoughtfulness, and usually humour. It is a strange place to be -- considering that you're all strangers (except for maybe one or two).

Which opens up an interesting comparison between blogs and newspapers (some of latter genuinely deserving the epithet "rags").

French Fancy was first off the mark (so to speak) with her dismay and indignation about the Daily Mail and its coverage of the incredibly sad death of Natasha Richardson. Blogger Mike H got into the fray on March 21st, with his "Gone Fishin'" post. Long-time friend and career journalist Jim Taylor piped up a day later about the sad shape of newspapers in his blog Sharp Edges. And then there is an interesting piece in The Atlantic Monthly by Andrew Sullivan about why he blogs.

Now, none of these, in itself, is particularly significant. But when you get a group of different people, apparently independent of each other, thinking similar thoughts, that's called a "trend." And reflective journalists are drawn to trends like bears are drawn to honey.

Hmmmm . . . You know, my friends, you've just given me an idea.


Unknown said...

What great articles, especially the one by Andrew Sullivan! Thanks for sharing these RobBear; definitely eye-openers!

Natalie said...

Baby names tend to go in a trend, I have noticed.
Good luck with it all, Rob Bear.xx

Gutsy Living said...

Isn't it so true what they tell you. Just keep writing and something will come to you. I'm sure you'll reach your deadline now. Let us know.

cheshire wife said...

I had thought that the recession was responsible for newspapers closing down but now I come to think about it I am sure that one single problem alone is not enough to bring down long established businesses of any sort.

Exmoorjane said...

Glad you've had an idea.... nothing worse than the blank page. Mind you, several years at the London Evening Standard with five deadlines a day knocked fear of the deadline out of me pretty much.... But given the choice of a blog or a feature, I know which I'd choose every day. A trend eh? Be careful, trends tend to bite bears!

Rob-bear said...

FIRST AND FOREMOST -- yes, I did get something written tonight. I've got tomorrow to edit it, and then submit it. Since I don't have much on my calendar, I'm in good shape. I'll eventually post it on my "Bears Noting" site -- I'll give you warning.

GS: You're welcome. Blogging is about sharing. You'll see that in what I've written.

Natalie: "Baby Names and Column Titles." Hmmmm … sounds like the title of a story.

GW: Thanks, again.

CS: Yes, there's more to it that just the recession. This has actually been a long time coming. "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee" has some interesting comments related to that, on March 18th

Exjane: Point taken! Right on. Or is that "Write on"?