Sections of the blogosphere are feeling depleted this week following two leading bloggers from opposite sides of the political fence announcing they are taking a break.

Helen Dale, previously known as Helen Darville and Helen Demidenko, the woman behind the literary scandal of the early 1990s, has in recent months re-emerged in the public sphere through the right-wing Catallaxy blog, where she writes under the pseudonym Skepticlawyer.

On Saturday she announced her departure in this post, saying:

I have not been happy with my blogging persona of late, and have formed the view that I am taking the whole exercise too seriously.

Dale cited as reasons her need to finish a novel, but also hinted at a new media gig to start in October. The hot but unconfirmed rumor in the blogosphere is that this will be a column for The Australian, where she has received favorable attention in recent times.

Meanwhile, partly spurred by Dale’s move, Mark Bahnisch of the left leaning blog Larvatus Prodeo made his own declaration, which he says is best regarded as a “sabbatical” rather than a resignation.

LP and Catallaxy are both group blogs, so will continue unabated if somewhat diminished. Bahnisch at least hopes to return once his current heavy workload eases.

Meanwhile there is growing détente across the political divide in Blog-land. The Queensland based Bahnisch, Dale and other blogging identities intend to catch up at a BrisGrogBlog this Saturday, and leading bloggers from across the political spectrum are cooperating on the “Missing Link” project, which is a useful weekly round-up of good blog posts started by Ken Parish of the centrist Club Troppo and, given the immense workload, continued by a roster of volunteers.

Blogging, it seems, is sufficient to bind people who might otherwise never converse, let alone cooperate.

In a strange way these resignations also indicate the Blogosphere is coming of age. Blogging seriously on politics and current affairs can be close to a full time job – which is why these two have had to step back from it.

The problem is, nobody outside the mainstream media has yet found a way to make it pay.

With advertising online growing fast, though, full time paid blogging can only be a matter of time.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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