Guardian column: The institutional voice

My Guardian column this week brings together a few posts furthering the notion that the internet obsoletes the institutional voice of the editorial writer (translated into British newspaperspeak: leader writer). Column here; nonregistration version here.

: The column is up at Comment is Free and generating interesting comments there.

  • A thought-provoking column in today’s Guardian – so good I’ve linked to it in my own blog. It’s the sad but honest truth that leader writers have a tough job ahead of them in maintaining their voice of authority in the press. As a former journalist I’d hate to see respected and accomplished journalists squeezed out of a role that they’ve worked hard to achieve, but likewise, it will make them think harder about what they can offer that’s different and interesting.

  • Richard Morris

    ‘the internet obsoletes the institutional voice ‘

    Is ‘obselete’ really a verb? Why not say ‘makes the institutional voice obselete’?

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  • Richard, from OED:

    obsolete |ˌäbsəˈlēt| adjective 1 no longer produced or used; out of date : the disposal of old and obsolete machinery | the phrase was obsolete after 1625. See note at old . 2 Biology (of a part or characteristic of an organism) less developed than formerly or in a related species; rudimentary; vestigial.

    verb [ trans. ] cause (a product or idea) to be or become obsolete by replacing it with something new : we’re trying to stimulate the business by obsoleting last year’s designs.

  • Richard Morris

    Jeff, I can cite dictionaries which do not indicate a verb usage. Can we at least agree that it is an ugly formulation?

  • Ray Allger

    There is a great hypocrisy about leader writers, that as a press officer has always bothered me, on the one hand they claim to speak on behalf of the institution but on the other are completely annoymous and almost without any editorial control.
    Leaders writers claims to offer the opinion of the institution by comment on piece of journalism appearing elsewhere in the paper. Usually written by a journalist employed directly by the paper (ie not a freelance) so why would a paper employ a journalist who’s opinion does not fit with the view of the institution in the first place. I mean in the UK could you imagine a Daily Mirror journalist being employed by the Daily Mail, I highly doubt it.
    Leaders writers are archiac and should be put out to pasture.