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Teaching Online Journalism

Blogging where you come from, where you live

Metroblogging is a site of many blogs. What they have in common, apart from an identical look and feel (pretty generic, actually), is that each blog is really about a place. I mean, really. About. A place.

From San Francisco to Bangkok, from Karachi to Toronto, Metblogs are a hyper-local look at what’s going on in the city. Our hand-picked core of regional bloggers give each site a new perspective on daily life; less calendar listings, more friendly advice.

The site, founded in 2003, carries advertising on the individual blogs. The ads are not too obtrusive. The writing is mostly interesting, more in some cases than in others.

I find it an intriguing idea because the founders have what might be considered an editorial vision. They are sponsoring a theme at JPG Magazine right now — the theme is “Hometown.”

I also listened to a good interview with one of the Metroblogging founders, Sean Bonner, published as a podcast at the Baltimore Sun site (Sept. 20, 2006), which further convinced me that the folks behind the site do have a cool idea.

This idea behind Metroblogging tapped into something I was thinking about two days ago, as I went digging around for Dan Gillmor’s blog. It was almost impossible to find. (How bizarre is that? Dan Gillmor’s blog is hard to find!) Now that it’s on Backfence, Gillmor’s blog — which lately has been all about the Hewlett Packard news — is buried in a local ghetto (the Palo Alto section).

Think about it. Gillmor won a worldwide audience for his blog about technology at the San Jose Mercury News. He went on to write an excellent book about citizen journalism (We the Media), which also has a worldwide audience. But at Backfence, he’s shoved into a little back alley — even though he still writes about the world.

One thing that stands out about the Metroblogging blogs: They are personal. Sure, the bloggers might comment on the world from time to time, but mostly, they are looking out their own window and writing about what they see.

Update (Oct. 1): Journalists should take a look at this post from Karachi. Notice how many comments there are! What struck me especially is the community feeling of this conversation — about a car wreck! Also note the news value of the photos from the scene, and finally, the follow-up link (near the end of the comments) to a news story that provides the names of the victims.

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One Comment

  1. Angela Grant says:

    I enjoy these types of blogs. When I lived in Austin, I would regularly read the austinist.

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