Thursday, September 28, 2006

It's More Fun to Compute

Last night, while the more tech savvy Internet nerds were at the WIRED Nextfest press event, I went to a book blogger panel discussion at the Housing Works Café. Four prominent journalists/bloggers -- Lizzie Skurnick, Laurie Muchnick, Maud Newton, and Frank Wilson -- were discussing the future, or lack there of, in newspaper and magazine book reviews versus the more fast paced and growing world of online book blogs.

Moderating the panel was John Freeman, a real stud of a book nerd, but I was mainly there to see Maud Newton, because if I had a hero blogger, it'd be her. Her site presents a gold mine of book related information that she concisely compresses and presents in an engaging fashion. Actually, it's where I get most of the links for this blahg.

I've let my own blahg go a bit in the past week or so (ok, fine, month), and my five readers don't really seem to mind because they understand that sometimes life takes precedence over blahging.

Maud, however, runs a real blog with a real readership and admitted last night that she once reached the point where she was blogging about books more than she was reading books. That would be tragic.

Anyway, the discussion went back and forth, back and forth -- bloggers versus journalists, the decline of print, blogs are taking over the cyber waves, bloggers aren't critics, bloggers are critics -- following the the usual hum drum course of conversation that has been going on since, what, 2003?

Not that I mind; I like flip-flopping my views in that conversation. Considering that I just began an Internet related job, which did not exist five years ago, I will let you guess which side I lean more heavily towards.

But it was the old newsy, Frank Wilson, who really brought sense to the discussion. I describe him as such only because he kept referring to himself as 'old', as he has been working at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 26 years now. As the editor of the books section, he has seen his budget cut by 80% in the course of one day and so it is no wonder that he is a bit fatalistic about the state of print.

As he postulates, however, it is a shame that the newspapers are so quick to support Darwin's theories of evolution, yet have so sense of adaptation themselves. Print publications that do not maintain blogs will die out sooner than those that do because they are failing to keep up with the world wide conversation that is the Internet.


Blogger nora kaye said...

It's nice to have a live, isn't it.
But just to let you know, I'm still checking on your blahg every few days. Now if you were to throw in your towel then I would have to put a note in the complaint box.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Toby Shuster said...


10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

couldn't go Maud's site from your blog.

Housing Works Cafe is one of the nicest bookstore, isn't it. The one in SoHo/Nolita, right?


10:48 AM  
Blogger Toby Shuster said...

yeah, that store/cafe is great. pretty fancy for a non-profit...

10:51 AM  

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