Media Talk: The new column writing formula

Media Talk: The new column writing formula – less crafted, more deconstructed?

"A personal letter carries the scratch of the pen, the lick of the envelope. A weekly column carries the air of a pondered framing of arguments, choice of words, the tap of the laptop key, the long pauses, the delete key, the cut-and-paste procedure, the balancing of paragraphs, the final wordcount. All this may survive in magazines like The Spectator, and be sought there; and in books, too. But newspapers are increasingly about almost literally contemporaneous report, quickfire commentary, fast analysis and response. Where opinion, judgement and reflection are called for (and they always will be) the reader will increasingly feel he wants to be, as it were, with the columnist, alongside him, as he hums and hahs and feels his way to a response...Such writing will not – I stress this – be more superficial, more trashy or less intelligent than my kind of column; but it will have a lightness, directness and frankness, and, with all those things a sort of formlessness, a train-of-consciousness quality. We will write more as we think, or speak."

- Times columnist Matthew Parris, writing in The Spectator Australia, 16 April 2011.