It starts with the ragtag pioneers, moving in with their funky friends and their bohemian pursuits, seeking life on the cheap in some desolate space. Then comes the progression: artists give way to creative professionals, lofts give way to loft-style co-ops, expensive cheese stores give way to more expensive cheese stores. The neighborhood has arrived; there it goes.
So it was when the armchair pundits, teenage diarists, freelance writers, and other non-professionalized writers found a new place to live, a sketchy industrial zone previously occupied by hardcore geeks and tech workers. Some of them came there to get away from the ink-and-paper mainstream media neighborhoods; some came because they couldn’t get into the ink-and-paper world; some came because they weren’t thinking about ink or paper at all.
But after a period of trepidation–is it safe around there? Can those people be trusted?–the ink-and-paper folks themselves started to notice the vibrancy of the street life, the raw immediacy of the neighborhood culture. They saw the appeal. The New Republic sent some of its younger kids to live there. The Washington Post annexed Kausfiles. Vanity Fair set James Wolcott up in a groovy bachelor pad.
The boom is on. Time Warner has launched Entertainment Weekly‘s Popwatch. Conde Nast is offering Beyond the Beyond, by Wired‘s Bruce Sterling. The New York Times‘ David Carr is backing up his media observations about podcasts with a podcast
Oh, and the Observer is launching the Daily Observer, with its Media Mob column.
The results aren’t necessarily real Web logs, any more than a dive-y bar is a dive bar. But they are constantly updated, commentary-laced outlets for papers that can’t always wait for paper anymore. Even if the paper is a lovely shade of salmon.