Are the Irish Times going to start blogging soon?

I’ve spoken ad-nauseum on the idea of Irish newspapers blogging in the past. The print media in Ireland is way behind its European and American counterparts in terms of web-access, not to mention “new media” like blogging, podcasting etc.

However, I’m optimistic that things may change some time soon, and recent minor details have led me to believe that The Irish Times is on the verge of doing something serious in the world of blogging.

The Irish Times has shown plenty of curiosity towards the world of blogging already; it gave coverage to this year’s Blog Awards and the recent Blog Conference, in fact my first nationally-published article was on political blogs in that newspaper.

Moving forward from that, today’s Features section has a nice little rundown on what blogging is and why it exists (subs req.), giving reference to some of Ireland’s more notable bloggers and blog events.
Also, Ireland.com are sponsors of the Best Blogger award at the Net Visionaries, something which surely cost them a few quid and which highlights some degree of interest in the hobby.

Of course neither of these things are indicative of a shift within the Young Lady of Tara Street, but it certainly shows that The Irish Times Ltd. is paying close attention to the blog scene in this country. The company is certainly interested in all things online, anyway, with its purchase of MyHome.ie in recent months and its apparently interest in other web-based companies in the country.

The newspaper certainly seems keen to introduce the whole concept to its readers and perhaps spark some interest amongst a more traditional audience. Another example being that I was asked to write an opinion piece for The Irish Times on blogging a few months back; at first to detail the fact that blogging would never overtake the traditional media, however I re-drafted it to talk about the benefits blogging has to newspapers and tv/radio stations, instead of it being some phantom threat.

Frankly I’m not sure why it hasn’t been printed and I don’t say that with an element of arrogance because I honestly don’t know. Maybe it wasn’t up to scratch or offered nothing new, maybe they liked it but just can’t justify publishing it or maybe they’re putting it off so they can give it a whole page to itself, which it surely deserves (!).

What was interesting about it, though, was that the editor I spoke to seemed honestly interested in the whole concept, hence his request to me (after reading this blog, no less). Unfortunately I’ve yet to get an explanation as to why it never got aired in public, but the initial curiosity was a good thing at least.

From what I understand one newspaper (and not the SBP) is due to push itself into the realm of the blog (or at least a vastly improved web-presence) in the not-to-distant future so either way, even if The Irish Times isn’t already planning it’s next step, it should probably start now or look outdated very quickly.

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