Tag Archives: Gazette blogs

YAGB: Fashion shopping blog

Basem Boshra, The Gazette’s new Arts & Life online manager, is very busy these days. He was hired as a copy editor in March after a four-year absence. Now he’s launching blogs like there’s no tomorrow (and posting almost 100 posts to them already) like Inside the Box (TV), Words and Music (music) and Year One (university freshman diary).

The latest is The Constant Shopper with fashion editor Eva Friede. (The fashion section, for the unfamiliar, is those couple of ad-filled pages on Tuesdays that feature photos of must-have garments and accessories on white backgrounds.)

The blog’s inaugural post (actually more like three posts) chronicles, among other things, her search for the perfect watch. She rejects a $5,300 diamond-studded timepiece because it’s “too big”.

This is where Eva and I differ. My watch was bought for $10 at a street sale, complete with fabric/velcro strap. And it has a stopwatch. And I couldn’t be happier (well, except for the fact that I have to press a button to check the date).

(Don’t get the wrong impression, she also shops at Winners. But don’t expect MTL Street here).

The right way and wrong way to blog the Emmys

There’s nothing better on tonight (except re-runs of Family Guy/American Dad on Global, Anchorman on ABC, the NFL’s New England Patriots on NBC/TSN, and the Weather Network’s long-term forecasts), so I’m watching the Emmys.

Of course, it’s not enough to be watching the Emmys, you have to read someone liveblogging it too. Something to keep you entertained during Ray Romano’s monologue. (It’s clear why some of the awards were previously presented, because they needed more time for long, unfunny monologues and skits.)

There’s a few options for Emmy liveblogging, but I’ll point to two with opposite mentalities:

FOX has five people you’ve never heard of sitting in the audience with blackberries in their hands, contributing to a blog on its website. The blackberries apparently prevent them from using punctuation, capital letters, or from spelling anyone’s name right. Here’s a sampling of some of the comments:

  • “ray remono is a comedic genious he had the audience in tears”
  • “I’m quick like a squirrell.”
  • “whod of thought eva l could get any hotter”
  • “hahaha yay justin!”
  • “queeny is in the house”

Most of the other posts have about the same level of insight and grammar.

On the other side of the spectrum, The Gazette’s Basem Boshra is sitting in front of a TV liveblogging the Emmys for the Inside the Box blog. A sampling:

  • 8:47: Biggest upset of the night so far as Late Night with Conan O’Brien snags the writing in a variety, comedy or music series trophy over heavyweights such as the Daily Show, Colbert Report and Late Show with David Letterman. (Although the winner for best goofy video to accompany the list of nominees – always one of the high points of any Emmy broadcast – goes to the team from Bill Maher, for their priceless send-up of the Sen. Larry Craig mess,)
  • 8:59 p.m.: A grizzled-as-ever Robert Duvall spends a little too long extolling the virtues of the western after winning the award for best actor in a minseries or movie for Broken Trail, presented to him by Heroes’ Ali Larter and 24’s Kiefer Sutherland, the latter who was in full-on Sutherland-gravitas mode.

It’s not like the latter tells me much I couldn’t tell from simply watching the show. But at least it doesn’t treat me like an idiot.

UPDATE: From Sunday’s Gazette:

Jon Stewart

Sacrilege! How could they get the name of his show wrong?

How many Gazette blogs can we take?

For the past month, The Gazette has been launching a new blog every week on average. Year One, Words and Music, In the Game. Good ideas which sadly use the badly-designed CanWest blogging platform instead of the proven successful formula of Movable-Type-based Habs Inside/Out.

The latest is Inside the Box, a TV blog featuring former TV critic Basem Boshra along with TV Explorer columnist Denise Duguay, Gazette online manager Asmaa Malik and blogging favourite Mike Boone.

It’s nice to see the paper get back to original TV coverage, and hopefully this blog will concentrate on local television instead of what’s coming out of Hollywood and start talking about local TV again. It’s something that’s been seriously missing since the TV column was outsourced to CanWest’s Alex Strachan.

Take 5, take forever

Take 5 I was a bit slow reading last Saturday’s paper and totally missed this one: The Gazette is killing its Take 5 section.

It makes sense. Take 5 never really had a purpose. It was just a section where they threw together DVD reviews, electronics, gaming, the puzzles page and comics. It wasn’t really clear what tied them together.

So after realizing that few people read the section (they had a survey about it earlier this year) and that even fewer people care, they’re gutting it and redistributing its contents:

DVD reviews join the Friday Preview section as a single page, though it keeps the funky Take 5-style layout, which makes it look out of place.

Mark Saltzman‘s electronics advertorials column moves to Thursdays in Arts & Life, where it will apparently be once every two weeks, rotated with other articles like those of photography columnist Martin Coles.

Tyler Todd’s In the Game column is being replaced by a blog of the same name. This makes sense considering the way Todd has been writing his columns. And considering they were always published in a tiny font, maybe this means people will be able to read it. (It also means Todd can do fun stuff like include pictures with his rants.)

Video game reviews, as far as I can tell, will no longer appear in The Gazette. That’s kind of a step backwards, but it’s another step in the continuing alienation between newspapers and younger generations, which will lead to newspapers’ downfall once the baby boombers die off.

The puzzles and comic pages will move back to Weekend Life, where they were before Take 5 was launched.

What do you think?

YASTGB: Year One – A freshman diary

For the second time in as many days, a new blog has appeared on the Gazette radar. Year One, by new university students Michelle Wong and Nori Evoy, chronicles the two girls’ first year.

Evoy introduces herself in the blog’s first post. She’s from Hudson and is somewhat of a celebrity in the tiny island of Anguilla as the webmaster of Anguilla-Beaches.com. The story of her online venture and the profits they made her is all over every “how to make a fortune online” website, including her father’s. (The site uses her as a case study)

UPDATE (Sept. 10): Michelle Wong introduces herself.

Newspapers still need to learn how to use blogs

The Gazette today launched a Jazz Festival blog called “Offbeat” (better than “beatoff” I guess) written by saxophonist Adam Kinner and freelance writer Natasha Aimée Hall.

The blog reads like a diary, which got me thinking about mainstream media outlets and their use of these curious creatures they still don’t quite understand. Some blogs make sense, like The Gazette’s wildly successful and very high-quality Habs Inside/Out blog, which gives the paper’s experienced hockey writers a place where they can share late-breaking behind-the-scenes rumours and other news directly with a niche audience.

Others, however, read more like personal blogs which catalog the hourly events of its authors but doesn’t provide anything interesting to anyone outside the immediate family of the blogger.

It’s not the fault of the bloggers, most of whom (including Hall) are very talented writers. The problem is a lack of direction from the media outlets that create them. They give them this platform, tell them to “go and blog” and don’t give them much else to work with. The bloggers are left with nothing else to write about than their own personal stories, as mundane as they may be.

Blogs by beat writers is one thing. It’s pretty clear what the blog is going to be about. But for anything beyond that, the media have to answer the question “what information would I go to this blog to learn?”

If the answer is “what someone did for a couple of weeks”, then I think it needs some rethinking.