I'm at the Seattle Public Library for a panel dicussion by City Club on neighborhood blogs. Several folks have started neighborhood-centric blogs in Seattle to "create acts of journalism" as one person put it that highlight the happs in their 'hoods.
As the write up put it: How does the 24-7 nature of citizen-driven blogs impact traditional news sources and how people are informed?
From Ballard to Burien, from West Seattle to South Lake Union, and from Capitol Hill to Beacon Hill, the proliferation of neighborhood blogs all around Seattle is changing not just the local media landscape but also how community conversations are taking place in an increasingly digital world.
- Ballard Blog was started last fall as a way to connect with the new neighborhood of the couple running it. Seems like it's become more of a business for them as they're branching out to start 5-6 other neighborhood blogs.
- B-Town Blog in Burien has helped bring the community closer together by providing a place for positive stories about their community and a place to share information and help the community grow.
- Rainier Valley Post helped raise money for the funeral of a teenager killed in a shooting in Southeast Seattle by putting a PayPal button on their site. Before that, his family couldn't afford to bury him. The person who oversees it says neighborhood blogs provide some follow up that's lacking in the dailies or weeklies.
- Seattle Public Library has a blog Shelf Talk that has had more than 60 contributors to date.
- 85% of adults in Seattle have a library card.
- West Seatle Blog: 32K comments on their posts since July '05.
The West Seattle Blog seems to have been a model for several of the others. They've been at it for two and a half years and have been overwhelmed by the response from the community in terms of readership as well and most recently, advertisers.
A couple bloggers mentioned that they've run into some pushback from typical public information officer types unfamiliar with blogs or their reach. I think my government office is an exception to this. I attended this with both my work and personal hats on since we're doing lots of outreach to the blogosphere locally in my job as another way to get information directly to the community. I suspect the receptiveness of PIOs will change in the coming year or two as more communication types learn the value and reach of blogs.
They all seem to be genuinely interested in providing a service to the community and filling a niche that is being neglected by the mainstream media outlets in Seattle. I'll be reading some of them more regularly.