Thursday, 2 August 2007

Seems as though the print v online debate has entered a new phase. Ed Champion points to a new piece in The Boston Globe by Sven Birkerts.

He says "I would say we are right now at what feels like a point of vital balance" and many other things in a piece that is, like Ed's response, just way too long.

He brings Cynthia Ozick to the table. "[I]n a recent essay in Harper's" she has addressed "what she saw as not just the threats to print, but more ominously, to literary reading itself".

Which brings me to comment (because I haven't read any other on this point) about what is appearing (or, rather, what is not appearing) on the Web site of The Sydney Morning Herald. Because I thought the disappearance of lit crit in the papers was a purely U.S. phenom.

It's not. If you scan the 'Entertainment' space on the site's main page, you'll have noticed, over the past month or so, that literature mentions are gone.

In their place are links to stories about celebrities.

So: need we despair? Or is this a readjustment by the paper to what readers really want. Presumably, the editors know this by watching the click-through log.

The Herald employs, as far as I know, two journalists who do lit stuff: Susan Wyndham (who runs the Undercover blog) and Catherine Keenan (the books editor). The paper is due for a reshuffle when it downsizes next year (as reported in April).

When this happens, how will these two fare?

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