Shane Hegarty, winner of the best blog by a journalist in this year’s Irish Blog Awards, is hanging up his blogging boots (for now anyway). I didn’t get to read the blog as often as I would have liked, but that is largely because as Shane puts it himself “I think that blogs are generally better if theyre focussed. This one was a bit loose, although – if done sparingly – there can be an attraction in the pick and mix approach too.”Interestingly too he notes:
The blog was originally a way of getting the column online and letting people comment, but it turned out to be the least commented-upon part of the blog. It must have had a lot to do with the fact that people dont really want to read 800 words in a blog format. Thats best kept for print.
Shane will be much missed by his readers, but it is to be hoped that his paper will take proper note of his experience and use some of his blogging insights to beef up ireland.com. The Independent group have been slow to embrace the web’s capacity for building community and context. But even there, there are signs of some movement, particularly in their use of tagged back links. They also have the advantage of learning in-house lessons from the experimentation that’s going on at the English Independent.
I would also say (without indulging in what Shane refers to as “a bit too much back-slapping”), that the 72 comments (thus far) from people across the blogosphere indicates that Shane has built a bridge with an notoriously snappy and sometimes petulant group of individuals, at a time when the paper has resolutely kept most of its print content under lock and ‘subscription only’ key.
For now all I can say is: ‘Fill go luath’! Or, for the Ulster Scots among us: Haste ye back!
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty