by carl wilson

The Empire Strikes Blog

Pardon the tuneless interruption, but:

A new era of blogging arrives in town today as Torontoist goes live in beta - an operation of NYC's mammoth Gothamist, which has also franchised its suffix out to Chicago, London, San Francisco, D.C. and Los Angeles, to be followed by Philly, Seattle, Boston, Paris and Tokyo. (Watch this space for the announcement of Zoilurope, Zoilufrica and Zoiluntarctica!)

Unfortunately, in Canada, "Torontoist" sounds like an epithet, the geographical equivalent of "rockist." They should have followed the mama-blog's model and gone with a pet name, like Hogtownist or T-Dottist.

Seems like somewhat tough news for Marc Weisblott, who was attempting a Torontoist-type operation with his Better Living Centre, but maybe the competition will be good for both parties, Post-Globe style. (Except of course that said competition is not entirely good.)

And who is Torontoist? They seem to be aiming young, and to lean slightly National Post-wards. Editors are Joshua Errett, a fledgling music scribe, reviews editor at Umbrella Music and fairly fresh from the Queen's Journal ; and Sarah Lazarovic, a freelance writer-artist-animator who's dabbled in all sorts of things writing for Eye, the Post, the Globe and elsewhere. She was briefly Culture Editor of the McGill Daily , which makes her some kind of spectral student-journalism descendent of mine. (I held that job in... well, never mind.) Also on the masthead: Mediaworld bloggers such as J. Kelly Nestruck (a Post contributor) and Valerie Belair-Gagnon; Post columnist Jason Chow; another former Dailyite, Jason Rehel; S.A. (Sean) Carrie (all I know is that he guest-blogged for Nestruck in the summer); and one Benjamin Errett. We're guessing he is Joshua's brother, but he also turns out to be the Kevin Bacon of the bunch, as several contributors were formerly caught under the covers together at Ben's site, Plastic Benjamin.

Okay, enough investigative journalism. Contents so far include sarcastic remarks on Shelagh Rogers and Jonathan Franzen's smarm-faceoff to see who can fawn over Alice Munro most, an analysis of the goy-to-Jew aesthetic ratio in Mamma Mia!, news of George Strombolopoulis moving from MuchMusic to CBC, mockery of the Globe's "7" entertainment tabloid, an announcement of tonight's Trampoline Hall (hey, thanks), and a smoochy for Devendramamine Banhartburn (see below).

They could stand to take a minute or two more to edit each item - contrary to the first-thought-best-thought school of blogging, they'll find the first quick-hit that comes to mind is fine, the third or fourth might be funnier and smarter. Or maybe I'm just projecting. Their subjects seem well-chosen for the presumptive target audience - local blogheads and print junkies - but I'd love to see a little better balance of medialand and real street-level life, as in getting up from the computer and going outside. Still it's in the must-read category for Toronto denizens, but on a broader level, this new stage in the professionalization (and longterm corporatization) of blogs and the interowebatron in general bears wary, squinty-eyed watching.

Via Toronto | Posted by zoilus on Monday, November 15 at 4:21 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)



I know it has nothing to do with Canwest--just responding to how Mr. Zoilus framed it. I'd personally like some money from the Globe or Star or something ... or else it'll be the Outreach Connection paying for my coffee.

Posted by Marc Weisblott on November 15, 2004 6:24 PM



Hi Marc,
We're hardly a mouthpiece for the CanWest chain, or a necessary youth outreach program for some of the younger employees there. I'm trying to gather writers from all corners of the GTA, as I mentioned to you when we spoke a few weeks back and I invited you to contribute. And we're in beta. By next week, our full contributors list and about page should be up. Thanks for your support.

Posted by sarah on November 15, 2004 6:17 PM



Sheesh ... I don't know about bad news--different age group, different idea, different ambitions. It's only good far as publicity for the medium is concerned. But then, shouldn't the Canwest folks be positioning their junior staffers properly so that they don't need to do volunteer work to reach an audience of their peers?

Posted by Marc Weisblott on November 15, 2004 5:37 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson