Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Blogging Resolution for the New Year

To get more local.

In my one year as a blogger (my 1st blogiversary is coming up on January 11), I have focused mostly on state issues, with a smattering of Milwaukee County and national stories. I'll likely continue this in the second year, but I want to add a healthy dose of truly local issues.

For me, "truly local" means the Milwaukee area, specifically Whitefish Bay and the other North Shore suburbs.

While local blogs are more specialized, and therefore appeal to a more select group of readers, local blogging is really where the future of political blogging is at. The ultimate goal is to have a number of local bloggers working around the metro area. In time, as commonalities are found between what those bloggers are writing, a broader community would develop.

This is something the right side of the Cheddarsphere has done very well in places like Waukesha. Righty bloggers like Wiggy do a great job of hitting on truly local issues, and this has helped them and others on the right build a strong and stable community of readers and writers in their respective areas.

Some bloggers on the left emphasize truly local issues well, such as Jim at Watchdog Milwaukee and Gretchen at Milwaukee Rising, but it's my thought that the more the merrier. And with the recent blue-ing of the burbs, my hope is that the timing is just right.

Part of what makes truly local blogging difficult is that it often requires putting down the keyboard and getting out into the community. In my first year of blogging, I've relied almost exclusively on what I could find on the net. In this new year, I'll still probably do most of my blogging based on what I can see on my computer screen, but I also plan to start attending local community events such as school board meetings.

But helping me stayed glued to my computer chair while blogging on local issues is this fairly new site that features local news for the various communities in the Milwaukee metro area. The site is operated by CNI Newspapers -- which prints most of the community newspapers in the metro area -- and it works in collaboration with the Journal Sentinel. Each community has its own site filled with news featured in the local community newspaper and stories on the community that were culled from the JS.

Something else to point out is that CNI is looking for local folks who are interested in blogging on local issues through each of the community sites. So for those of you who are connected, or want to be connected, to local issues and want to try out blogging, this is a great opportunity to follow through on your interests in a structured atmosphere.

If you just want to write on local stuff, this route is probably much easier and more fruitful than simply diving into the anonymous multitudes of bloggers who have their own site through Blogger or TypePad. If you're interested, just go to your community site and look for the "Community Voices" section.


Blogger Crawford's Take said...

As a fan of your blogging, I'd like to join you in your quest.

As a native from Shorewood (also living in a house a few blocks away from my parents, I also have been concerned about how to disseminate local information since CNI bought out and ruined the Shorewood Herald. The high school is now the only truly local paper and although really well done, it's geared primarily towards high school interests and activities, so not a true full service local community rag.

I'd love to learn more about how you plan to figure out what to write about locally. Also, are you aware of Grassroots Northshore? We have about 1,500 members on the northshore of Milwaukee and we are having a blast finding and pulling out the progressive suburban vote.

A vote you missed in this excellent blog from last year's April primary floored even me and was certainly a sign of the November results was 55-Y/45-N on a straight yes or no question on the Iraq War, basically Should we get out of Iraq immediately?

January 03, 2007  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

How will I blog more locally? I'm not entirely sure, yet. I suppose it'll need to start small, like anything.

I do plan to start attending school board meetings in WFB this month, and I may try to get to a village board meeting occassionally. The big trouble is that my blog is more commentary-based than reporter-based. With a full time job and a two-year-old at home, there isn't much time for investigative journalism. (And, to be quite honest, I don't have a lot of interest in reporting the news -- I much prefer to comment on it.)

But I think between the CNI site, some board meetings, and the info on the official WFB website (village and schools), I should be able to put up a periodic post; and, hopefully, as I learn more about writing locally, the posts will start to accumulate and become more frequent.

I have heard of Grassroots Northshore. In fact, I subscribe to the group's list-serv. It seems to be a very activist-oriented, GOTV-type group, which is excellent. But I'm hoping to focus on the more subtle side of local politics, like village and school policy decisions, along with the general direction the community seems to be heading; for instance, the brewing battle in WFB between those who see the village as a primarily residential area and those who want to add more of a business feel, in part, to compete with what Glendale did with Bayshore.

January 03, 2007  
Blogger Jay Bullock said...

One note of caution about the "CommunityNOW" blogs--they are run with JournalCorp's blogging software, which precludes comments.

I would go to MPS school board meetings more often, but I usually have better things to do at 1 AM . . .

January 03, 2007  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Good call on the blog comments, Jay. I didn't even think of that.

January 03, 2007  

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