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Saturday, July 02, 2005

Hobbs Joins Accelerating Blog-to-Zine Movement; Cites Coming FEC Rule, Free Speech Threat

In yet another sign that the Blogosphere may well be about to disappear, Nashville's Bill Hobbs - blogmeister of Belmont University and one of the key people in making BlogNashville happen back in May - has announced that he is killing his blog and will commence publishing an online magazine to be named ... BillHobbs.com.

Hobbs explains his decision to end a blog he has published almost daily for three years as the result of the prospect of FEC regulation of political speech on the Internet and the media exemption to that regulation made possible by the 2002 campaign finance reform law that rendered the First Amendment to the Constitution null and void.

Explains Hobbs:

"Starting tomorrow, BillHobbs.com will cease being a blog and be relaunched as an online daily interactive magazine of news and commentary primarily focused on Tennessee politics, along with religion & culture, the media and the development of grassroots online journalism, and the War on Terror.
"I didn't want to stop being a blogger, but the FEC's moves to regulate political speech have made it necessary - as a growing number of other former bloggers have
realized. And so, as of midnight tonight, I will cease blogging and become, merely, an online citizen journalist."

In light of Hobbs' decision and similar actions by others in the Blogosphere, the management of Tapscott's Copy Desk has announced appointment of a committee to consider proposals to cease publication as a blog and convert to publication as an online magazine, or "zine." Members of the committee include Mark Tapscott, editor-in-chief, Claudia Tapscott, CFO, and Abby Tapscott, director of consulting services for pet issues. The latter has particularly valuable expertise in areas concerning chocolate labrador retrievers.

An announcement of the committee's decision is expected soon. A spokesman who asked not to be identified said a major consideration of the committee's deliberations will be whether the move to a zine would actually make any difference whatsoever to a federal bureaucrat determined to impose his or her will on the rest of America.

The spokesman cited this recent comment by OutsidetheBeltway's James Joyner:

"The transformation of blogs into 'online journals,' a meaningless distinction, does serve the purpose of illustrating absurdity by being absurd, as Rush Limbaugh likes to say. But I agree that, if the government really wants to treat online speech as a limited commodity, they're not going to be put off by the technicalities of what a site calls itself."