From broadsheets to blogging

Carol Ann Duffy is set to go down in history as the first Poet Laureate to have her first poem featured in the blogosphere.  As mentioned in the News item,  the verse about the MP’s expenses row was featured in a blog called Crust of the Grouch,  although it needs to be pointed out that this is NOT Ms Duffy’s own blog.

From Elizabethan times, poets and political commentators  – often the same people – used  ‘broadsheets’  to publicise their work around the streets of London and other great cities. This is how the term came to be used more generally for newspapers.  It is strange that the term is now used for the more traditional and heavyweight end of the market whereas today’s tabloid press and its typical reader might be closer to the vernacular of the original broadsheet.

Blogging is becoming respectable and respected and also a useful way of getting news out to the world that might take several days,  by more conventional means, especially if journalists have to get to some remote part of the world, or somewhere that they have difficulty in doing their jobs. Iran in the wake of the recent election is a case in point.

The automatic link between Twitter and the mobile phone network means that it is possible to get news online literally within seconds of it occurring.  We have already had convictions where criminals have been caught by mobile phone photographs.

Of course, this does raise questions about accuracy and truth. What you see in a photograph may be misleading, and items can be posted on Twitter that are simply untrue.  However politicians, Governments and celebrities need to be even more on their guard than ever lest things they would rather hide,  appear on our screens before they can prevent it.

The plus side is that anyone can set up a blog and be a self-publisher. Word gets around quickly and the best bloggers in terms of subject matter and writing style can attain recognition overnight.  We are less likely to find great writers who are not discovered till after their death, or whose works are not appreciated in their own time. 

I wonder how Shakespeare would feel about the plays that were performed for the ordinary people of London at the original Globe theatre are now on every school curriculum. He would most definitely have been a blogger, as would Charles Dickens, Dr Johnson, Samuel Pepys and many others.

The Festival Programme will include an event specifically about blogging, run by CIBAS


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