Living down here in the Back of Beyond, I do not buy paper newspapers. It's far too expensive an undertaking, I'm not even sure where I could buy them, and no one delivers so there's not much point anyway.
Instead I read them online - The Times, The Guardian and The Telegraph - not religiously and not from end to end, but here and there, and especially the blogs and debates. I enjoy being able to respond to what I read, not just in a private banging of the fist on the table or crying out with fury/disbelief/total agreement/disagreement, no, I like everyone to be able to share with my reactions. Hence the joys of newsblogs and debates.
The Times, as you would expect, is terribly well-organised with debates (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/section/0,,564,00.html) on a certain subject, the respondents offering well-thought out answers, ideas and reactions to the matter at hand. Responses are not published immediately, but checked for content. The Times also has 14 blogs(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/section/0,,20609,00.html) on varying subject matters such as Travel, Music, Gardens, Money, Articles of Faith, things French with Charles Bremmer, and so on. To these you can react more with the gut, like an interjection in a conversation. Responses are still moderated.
Google picks up on the debates and, for example, if you google sarahhague you'll find several of my contributions listed. I am by no means the only Sarah Hague in the world, but I do pop up in a very satisfactory manner in a Google search. Well, one can find pleasure in small successes!
The Guardian has a more rambling approach, using blogs (http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/news/) and 'Talk' (http://www.guardian.co.uk/talk/). The newsblog is particularly amusing as there are a number of regulars who participate, some of whom take up a particular stance, like 'Reg' who plays the archetypal reactionary, bloody-minded sod, or who enter into a dialogue with the others reacting to the comments made, not just the original blog topic. These comments are published immediately so you get an instant pleasure of seeing your name in the 'paper'.
'Talk' is more like a chat room, I believe. I haven't been in there yet, but will take a peek one of these days.
As for the The Telegraph, well, they don't seem to have got to grips just yet with the opportunities to their readers by blogging or debates. You can find a blog, if you look hard, but they are not grouped onto one page, like The Times, so you have to peruse various sections in the vague hope that you'll come across one. I know of 3 only - a business one, an Asian life one, and a Baghdad one. No one seems to go in there and comment.
If you look really hard, you can find 'Your view' (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/exclusions/poll.xml&menuId=4285&menuItemId=-1&view=DETAILS&grid=&targetRule=), much like the debates offered by The Times, but with more sedate topics. For example, in The Times, there is a debate on whether women can save the Conservatives (in relation to David Cameron's comments on the low number of women in the Party), while The Telegraph merely asks whether the Tories made the right choice with DC. Boring, see?
So, here is a call to The Telegraph (www.telegraph.co.uk) to pull their socks up and bring to the readers of the online paper the joys of blogging and debate. The risk of not doing this is to lose readers. I, myself rarely go into The Telegraph simply because I cannot visit blogs of any interest.
Let's get blogging!!