Online Zines and Blogs


CNET News.com has redesigned their site and incorporated blogs, of a sort, into the design. The site features six main areas of focus and a weblog, they call the "journals," for each one. For example, here's the Web Services Journal. I was disappointed when I found them. There's some issues like no permalink and no clear indication who's writing the weblog, but more importantly, they have a sterile, corporate voice. Seems like all they done is collected editorials into one spot and called it a blog. No RSS feed either.

In related news, according to Bruce Sterling, Wired magazine will also incorporate weblogs, but they haven't shown up yet. Fast Company also has a blog which, as far as voice is concerned, is a little better the ones at news.com, but still has more of a bulletin board feel than that of a true blog. At least there's an RSS feed.

Update: I had a short, pleasant exchange with Heath Row who is one of the writers of the Fast Company weblog---it helped clarify my thinking. I was probably too specific to the Fast Company weblog. I typically find blogs that are written by more than one person to difficult to connect with sometimes. They need some time to develop a personality which is usually immediately present in a one-person blog. They tend to feel more like a bulletin board with multiple people posting and then others responding in comments. Doesn't mean that they're not useful, just that they have a different style.

I think you have to work harder in a multi-person blog, particularly one that is affiliated with some other media concern, not to just sound like a collection of repurposed stories. I think it easier to do if the participants each keep a separate blog and then someone aggregates selected stories from them. Some would object to this "editing" and say that it would ruin the nature of the blog, but in fact, I see it as an honest kind of editing where value is being added to the original content by giving it context and putting it in place with other interesting stories. The originals are still available for those who wish to read purely.