Blatchford pines for the monologue

At the risk of causing an inter-office brouhaha, I can’t resist commenting on the piece that my Globe and Mail colleague Christie Blatchford wrote for the paper today, about her dislike of this whole “blogging” phenomenon, and how it is ruining journalism (at least I think that’s her point). Ms. Blatchford has carved out a reputation at both of Canada’s national newspapers for being a crusty, “things were better back in my day” kind of columnist, so this is very much in that spirit — but it’s more than that. You can tell by reading it that Blatch really believes that something special about journalism is dying.

It’s more than just not having time to blog after writing newspaper stories, although that’s part of her complaint, and it’s more than just the fact that blogs are filled (she believes) with meanderings and ephemera of little value. There are two key portions of her rant, as far as I’m concerned. The first is where says that:

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Video: The “gridlock economy”

I don’t like to delve too deeply into economic theory and that sort of thing on this blog — I leave that to my friend Paul Kedrosky and his gang — but this video, which Paul wrote a post on recently, was so fascinating that I watched the whole thing, and it’s over an hour long. Michael Heller, a lawyer and professor at Columbia who used to work at the World Bank, isn’t exactly the world’s most thrilling speaker, but his talk about what he calls the “tragedy of the anti-commons” and how it has led to a “gridlock economy” in many specific markets — including pharmaceuticals, the cellular telecom business and the airline industry — is really thought-provoking. My favourite part is when he talks about going to Moscow after the fall of communism to advise the Russian government on how to create a market economy as quickly as possible.

Twitter: A micro-financing vehicle?

Jason Goldberg, founder of aggregation service Socialmedian — and the controversial former CEO of Jobster — set off a bit of a hand grenade via Twitter today, when he posted a message saying that his company was looking to raise some money. The full text of his message (which he later deleted, but which is still available on FriendFeed) was:

“socialmedian is raising some more angel investment now. $25k-$100/investor, up to $500k. Interested parties can contact me directly.”

Within minutes, the eagle-eyed Michael Arrington — a former securities lawyer specializing in IPOs, and therefore intimately familiar with the rules — had put up a post on TechCrunch about the message, saying Goldberg was effectively soliciting investment without filing a registration statement and issuing a prospectus, something that is prohibited by the Securities Act (specifically, Section 5). As Mike points out:

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Google knows what bloggers want

Boy, does Google know the way to a blogger’s heart or what? According to the Wall Street Journal, the company is setting up an 8,000 square-foot blogging playground at the Democratic National Convention (and at the subsequent Republican convention), complete with food, massages, smoothies, a candy buffet and couches to nap on — all for the measly sum of $100 for access to the “Big Tent.” The money quote in this particular story goes to Micah Sifry of TechPresident.com, who says that there isn’t really much news out of the partisan conventions once the vice-presidential candidates are picked, but “it’s a target-rich environment for bloggers.” Especially the candy-fueled kind. Simon Owens has more on the Big Tent at the MediaShift blog.