Here's a leader column from a London local newspaper whose website this blog has linked to frequently.
"Some bloggers can be remarkably sanctimonious about their weblogs considering many are the web equivalent of nutty tub-thumpers at Speakers' Corner."
Don't believe all the sanctimonious drivel about citizen journalism."
Well, let's reserve judgment on that, eh?
"Most blogs are little more than a self-indulgent soapbox for those arrogant and egotistical enough to believe their opinions deserve a public airing."
Not unlike leader columns of local newspapers come to think of it. And I wouldn't necessarily say "most" blog are like that. Quite a lot are about flower-arranging or sex. Still, never let the facts get in the way of a good vent.
"Occasionally, a blog will spark controversy and come to the attention of the media via computer search engines."
Yes indeed. And routinely a blog will be a source of stories and information for a local newspaper. Blogs like this one, for example, and others written by residents of the area that newspaper professes to serve, who are often also readers of that newspaper.
"It's accepted practice - particularly if a public figure makes controversial remarks on a blog - for newspapers to use them as source material for their follow-up story, subject to the paper contacting the person quoted to check that what appeared is accurate."
I see. Carry on...
"For a blogger to moan that what they themselves put in the public domain has somehow been pillaged because a newspaper hasn't acknowledged them smacks of breath-taking petulance."
Well, hasn't someone got their knickers in a twist? And I wouldn't be surprised if readers of the newspaper in question haven't been left wondering what this outpouring has got to do with them. Nothing there about the concerns of local people or the place where they live. Nothing there but some bone being picked with some blogger who is not identified.
But let's look again at the finale to this curious hissyfit. I'm wondering - just wondering - if reference is being made to observations offered here about a certain local paper's increasing reliance on blogs and bloggers to provide it with stories it wouldn't otherwise have. Perhaps too, the fury of the leader writer has been fuelled by this mild rebuke which was made after a certain local newspaper republished this guest blog post written by a certain directly-elected mayor in response to something written here.
You'd think the local paper concerned would be more gracious. After all, the other item in the leader column reproduced above - and two letters from readers on the same page - makes mention of a story it had carried the previous week about the condition of a disused pub called The Lord Cecil. That article was published on 26th June - a full week after the subject was blogged about here.
But the poisonous tone of the leader also betrays a sad lack of foresight and imagination. As this article shows, many newspapers in America regard local blogs and community websites not as cheap sources of material to be plundered at leisure and without acknowledgment, but as potential allies in the battle to win new readers. They cultivate bonds with them, link to them from their websites, encourage them to share insights and information.
Some even provide these "citizen journalists" with cameras and other equipment to help them in their endeavours. One or two British nationals are looking at the same idea. You might have thought that a local newspaper claiming a circulation of over 11,000 copies a week but in fact struggling to sell even 10,000 in a weakening marketplace would be grateful for all the free help and goodwill it can it can get rather than indulging in leader columns of, well, breath-taking petulance.
Anyway, some readers of this blog might be wondering why it hasn't been very active these past few days. It's because this "nutty tub-thumper" has been rather busy as both citizen and journalist doing this and this and this and this and this for The Guardian newspaper and website. And, do you know, I reckon if I stick at it long enough I might one day be good enough to write a leader column for the Hackney Gazette.