The first is by Oliver Marre, who used to write the Pendennis column for The Observer. He charts the demise of the newspaper diary column and the fact that such columns have always been expensive and nowadays, partly because of internet competition, are harder and harder for newspapers to justify.
In part, the disappearance of gossip columns is simply as a result of the
change in economic circumstances across newspapers. Diaries aren't cheap... But
that's not the whole story, because the decline in newspaper revenue needs to be
seen against the backdrop of a changing social landscape. What was good for
chronicling the boom years does not seem so right when it comes to charting the
bust. What interested readers when times were good runs the risk of now seeming
irrelevant... Generally speaking, corks are being kept firmly on the champagne
bottles across the land so there is less for diaries to cover... the publishing
industry speaks openly of cutting back on book launch parties... That is not to
say that the readers' appetite for gossip has vanished overnight. [But] they
have to find homes elsewhere. The good ones are the easiest to rehouse. Decent
diary tales could always have claimed a place on the news pages and now, more
than ever, the lines between gossip and news are blurred. Somwhat you are
left with for the gossip column is some wry political reflection, a spot of
hypocrisy illuminated, and some funny quotes. At which point, inevitably, enter
the internet. Gossip websites with no lead times, are beating diarists to
breaking stories. Wheareas five years ago we shamelessly quoted blogs, because
other than a few pointy-headed enthusiasts nobody read them, these days bloggers
are the competition.
The full text of Oliver's article is HERE. And the second excellent article was by the BBC's Torin Douglas who writes about his job as BBC media correspondent. He's particularly good on how he has to report dispassionately about his own organisation when the brown stuff hits the fan. There are also excellent article on the decline of Sunday broadsheets and an obituary on local papers by Matthew Engel.
Sadly these articles are not online. But if you have £36 to spare, you could do worse than buy a subscription HERE.