8th anniversary of This Blog
It’s the eighth anniversary of the Montreal City Weblog. I’d been thinking about how the media landscape has changed since I began this blog, but was decisively nudged by the news that the word of the year is Twitter.
The major local media have adapted to the reality of multimedia since the days of 2001 and in general their websites are faster and easier to use. I don’t think the rotating-top-story method as used by Radio-Canada and Rue Frontenac is a great solution, though. At least Radio-Canada has a stable listing of the stories to one side, but on Rue Frontenac, if you decide you want to read a story and miss clicking it, you have to wait till it cycles around again.
But newspapers never did settle on one physical layout forever and for all, so there’s no reason they all ought to settle for one interface style either.
Mobile content is also a new world since 2001. Rue Frontenac and La Presse both have very nifty iPhone apps (based on the same platform, but it’s a good one) which not only hand you the manchettes but configure the content for comfortable mobile reading. I want more of the media to go this way. The worst local example is CJAD, which has a reasonable Twitter feed of news stories but when you try to click through any link from an iPhone it defaults to a generic Astral Media Radio page. Distinct fail. It would also help if they had a local-stories-only feed, but there’s only a one-size-fits-all jumble of local stuff and general CP content.
Another iPhone fail is the CBC’s own radio app. It offers Radio One local stations for everywhere in Canada except Montreal. You can use a radio streaming app like FStream and get the station, so there’s a workaround. But the omission bugs me. I’ve emailed the CBC about this issue and had no response.
I’ve never blogged extensively from my iPod Touch, although I could if I had to. There’s an app for that too.
When I do the blog in the morning I still get up and summon about twenty tabs into Safari. But throughout the day I mostly watch Twitter. Twitter is definitely the biggest change since this blog began. No question why it’s so much more effective than, say, an RSS aggregator like Google Reader – it forces people to be terse. Google Reader does have its place, though.
I have to mention the decline in the old arts weeklies since 2001. There was a time when the Mirror, Voir and Hour had a sort of countercultural edge but it’s seldom I find myself wanting to link to them now. (Hour’s new blog does at least have some promise.) On the other hand, I’m often impressed by the crispness of the work coming from Metro, although they’re in no sense a subversive paper. They have a few people who can get a good local story down onto the page.
Also, Rue Frontenac’s been so refreshing. Those guys can really run a paper when they’re not working to the Quebecor scandal-of-the-week model of journalism.
I wish there were more bloggers observing the local scene critically and consistently. I know it’s hard and often unrewarding in the short term, but this city needs it.
Now I’ve only got two years to figure out how to celebrate the blog’s 10th anniversary. I’m thinking gold lamé.