A Local Blog Mystery

At the very beginning of the month of October, I got a call from one of the local newspapers asking me what did I think of “all the blogs?”

Needless to say I was somewhat confused, a sentiment that I think I expressed to the person calling from the paper. Note: I’ve always tried to have a good to great relationship with printed media since the Newburyport Blog began almost 2 years ago on January 1, 2006, and I like them a great deal. I was somewhat baffled by the question, and could not imagine what the person could have in mind.

The end story made reference to 7 “blogs.” One blog that had not been updated for almost a year, one site that is not a blog, one site that is a forum (not a blog), 3 brand new blogs and me.

(I told the interviewer when they called that, “For goodness sakes I’m ‘the old lady of blogging.’ ” And then I remember saying, “Oh my goodness, please don’t call me that. Don’t even call me the “middle aged lady of blogging.’ ” And they graciously did not.)

When the article came out, I was no more enlightened about the whole situation than I was during the “phone interview.” Still mighty confused here.

And then Friday (October 26, 2007), maybe, possibly an answer. It was another “local” paper, owned by a “conglomerate” that is out of Fairport, NY– 158 new “hyperlocal sites” (new Internet buzz word). It also has 86 daily publications, across 19 states and a local readership of more than 10 million per week. It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange.


(Remember the entry on our “local” banks, how they are not “financial conglomerates” traded on the stock exchange, but are really and truly “local” banks. (Please press here to read that entry.)

So maybe, could be, possibly, this is the mystery, the somewhat bewildering basis for me, of why all of a sudden, there was an article on “local blogs?” (I have not verified this.) A paper-conglomerate, has gone into super-duper, Internet “blog overdrive.” (These are the folks that were using the name “The Newburyport Blog,” until all of that got sorted out.)

Another, good grief.

I am going to digress here for a moment.

One of the things that I have been doing since 2004 is work as one of over 75,000 editors for the “Open Directory Project,” (DMOZ), an online “human-edited” directory, which is owned by Netscape and used by Google. I’ve seen my share of websites, etc. over the years. And what I have learned, among other things, is that it is a good idea for a blog to be “up” and undetected for about 3 months or so, so that a blogger could begin to find their voice, see if a blog is worth reading on a regular basis, and see if a blog actually has staying power.

I was lucky and started an obscure blog about 3 months before starting the Newburyport Blog, and got to find my “blogging feet,” without anyone much reading it. And I learned a whole lot in those early 3 months. And I sure am grateful to have been able to blog in virtual obscurity, because I made a whole lot of weird blogging mistakes (and yes, occasionally, still do).

And we have 4 promising, new, actual “local” and “independent” blogs (none that I know of, are being traded on the New York Stock Exchange :-). And I would like to see them all get their “blogging sea-legs,” so to speak, before being exposed to the sometimes cruel and uncivil world of the blogosphere.

Mary Eaton