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Something familiar about blogs

Don Rogers

I’m joining the blogsphere, and don’t I feel trendy.Yep, going to start bloggin’, a fad that’s assuredly nearly done if a newspaper editor is cluing in. If by chance you don’t yet know what a blog is, well, it’s Web-worldeese for keeping a journal.I can do that.The IT folks have set it up on our Web site, and I should start in the next week. The form looks looser than writing stories or columns for print. Much more stream of consciousness than striving for carefully crafted beginning, middle and end stuff. Forget affecting literature. This is conversation, with easy means for you to talk back. Viewers of our Web site (www.vaildaily.com) will be able to read, offer their two cents, to which I can reply, and so on. I expect to focus mainly on newspaper subjects and the news. Why we do what we do, trends, what we’re thinking about doing next, research, asking you what you think. I’m sure we’ll get into debates about development, open space, education, immigration and the other issues driving the news of the day. I hope Kobe Bryant doesn’t come up at all. Surely you will challenge me. And you can count on me challenging you. The sword is sharpened against the grindstone, after all, and I believe the intellect is, too. It’s not so much about whether we agree as we each think more about these events and issues that shape our daily lives. Pardon the mini-lecture here, but there is a lot going on that relates directly to your and my personal and civic interests. Maybe we can talk about why we pay so little attention to some of the decisions that will matter the most to our future lives here in the valley.I just went on the Web to see how many blogs exist today. The estimates all range in the millions, from 8 million to over 20 million. There are enough blogs out there that advertisers are looking for ways to get in. Oh, boy. Blogging made headlines in the last presidential election, when bloggers outed CBS’s rather weak reporting on that oh so essential question of whether President Bush’s daddy pulled strings to get W. into the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam War. Now a news media debate is whether bloggers should be entitled to press credentials for big events. (Short answer: Yes.)Who knows whether blogging will go the way of desktop publishing and personal Web sites. It’s going strong now. The first of this genre recognized as a Web log was Mosaic’s “What’s New” page in 1993, according to Yahoo, which of course I found searching Google. The term Web log was coined in 1997, and the form languished until free blogging software appeared in 1999. Since then, it’s taken off.But now the insurgency has been recognized and is being co-opted into the mainstream by newspaper sites that provide homes for blogs. Well, and by editors like me who pick up the habit. In a way this brings me full circle. I fell into writing for a living from keeping a journal in notebooks decades ago, before personal computers in every home and the World Wide Web. There’s a little more of an audience this time around. But fancy name aside, it’s a familiar form. This hot new thing really is a reincarnation, and evolution, of the good old daily diary. I like that. Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 600, or editor@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado


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