You may have heard that three prominent bloggers have recently suffered heart attacks; two of which proved to be fatal. While the tone of this article strikes me as a little bit alarmist, it's an interesting look into the lives of these and other online journalists. I say journalists instead of bloggers because the people that were profiled in the story sound more like journalists than bloggers to me. In my mind, anyone who is spending most of their time chasing down leads over the phone and/or in person in an attempt to scoop their competition is more of a journalist than a blogger. A blogger is more of a metajournalist, someone who distills the content produced by journalists into analysis, humor, opinion, or some combination of all three.
All of the blogs mentioned in this article cover the technology industry. I don't really read any of the technology industry blogs so I may not know what I'm talking about, but I suspect that because the technology industry gets so little coverage in mainstream media, anyone who wants to blog about technology really needs to be more of a journalist than a blogger because there's not enough technology content out there for bloggers to collect and assimilate into their blogs.
Timeliness is important in all writing, but I think that anyone who is sweating the milliseconds is more of an online journalist than a blogger. I may be in the minority, but I've always felt that the real value that blogs add to the media landscape is not their ability to cover breaking news in real time, rather it's their ability to offer insightful analysis in near real time and the way they are able to build a relationship between the blogger and the audience. When I want to hear about breaking news, I go to a news outlet. After I've digested the news, I generally head over to my favorite bloggers to hear their take on things. Sometimes, it's even nice to read someone's take on things after the dust has settled a little bit but before it's completely fallen off the front page and that's something that blogs do very well.
I don't think that the unfortunate passing of a couple of bloggers is indicative of a nationwide epidemic, but I would encourage the mothers of bloggers across the country to make sure to go downstairs at least once a week to make sure your sons (and daughters?) haven't dropped dead.