I almost feel guilty writing in the newspaper about blogs. I mean, how often have you heard someone in my business ask, “How can we get more people to read the newspaper?”
Sending you online, dear reader, used to feel so risky, as if we were expediting the end of the print product.
Well, we had to shelve that fear a long time ago. We plan to keep the print version of the Bradenton Herald for a long time, even as it changes in shape, size and content. But almost everyone uses some form of virtual communication each day, and we need to tap into those conversations – both to discover the news and to deliver it.
Millions of blogs have been launched in the past decade. We’ve been blogging at the Herald for a few years now, using those easy online journals for everything from breaking news, story insight and conversation to a soul search, a pulpit, a game, a plea or a tease.
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Today, I’d like to introduce you to the Herald staff’s latest on Bradenton.com, as well as a refresher of some veteran bloggers. You’ll find them throughout our Web site, and on bradenton.com/news/blogs/ where you can go to bookmark your favorite.
Our newest ‘metro’ blogs
n Local columnist Vin Mannix has launched “Mannix on Manatee,” an online glance into life around town in Manatee County. Vin has the envious position of choosing whether he’ll spout off, dig into a controversial topic or just give readers all the “happy news” to celebrate. In his blog, he plans to be even more spontaneous, and to offer “a chance for readers to share what’s happening with them, be it funny, serious or somewhere in between.”
n “East Word” has entered the blogosphere, with news and views from members of the Herald’s Lakewood Ranch newsroom. Leading the way is East Manatee Editor Jim Jones, whose institutional knowledge of our state is invaluable (maybe that’s why their first blogs include fossils and Old Florida). Joining him are reporters Sara Kennedy, Richard Dymond and Nick Walter.
n Want to stir things up? Talk about politics. That’s what we’re hoping with “Political Watch,” spearheaded by Metro Editor Marc Masferrer. He and other staff members plan to keep a closer eye on local and state government and politics, from a Manatee County perspective. We’ll also link frequently to “Naked Politics,” our sister news organization Miami Herald’s blog.
Our summer sports blogs
n The newest is “Prep Rally,” a blog by preps writer John Lembo that’s all about high school sports in Manatee County. As Lembo promises, “From baseball to basketball, softball to soccer, volleyball to track, swimming to wrestling and weightlifting, if they play it, you can read about it at Prep Rally.”
n Nothing says it’s almost summer better than “The Strike Zone.” Roger Mooney is the Bradenton Herald’s lead sports columnist and has covered the Tampa Bay Rays since their inception in 1998. His baseball blog is packed with insider tips, prognoses, characters and just plain good baseball writing. And, we hope, plenty about another hot year for the Rays.
n When Nick Walter joined the Herald as our outdoors writer in late 2006, he left the mountains of Colorado and trout streams for life by the Gulf. In his blog, “Hook Line & Sinker,” Nick hangs out with local captains to find the hottest spots for “snook, grouper and anything else he can get to bite the end of his line.”
n Fantasy sports teams have been around for a long time, but millions have joined the obsession since the Internet broke down most barriers. Herald staffer Jason Bartolone — editor, designer and reporter — has written a fantasy sports column for the Herald since 2005. For more than a year, his blog “Fantasy Focus” has analyzed, summarized and challenged real-life news and how it impacts fantasy sports players.
n Features editor Jana Morreale and features writer January Holmes have been gossiping about the entertainment world in “Buzz Worthy” for a while now, sharing insights on the Bradenton-Sarasota arts, theater and music scene as well as the national entertainment scene. They probably had their most fun when Syesha was on American Idol. Their blog is a great place to tap for local culture.
n There’s little more obsessive right now than discussions about the economy and the stock market, and business reporter Brian Neill has an award-winning blog that explores that buzz. Brian’s “Taking Stock” is a forum for stock market and investing enthusiasts, but he’s also having a bit of fun with the anxiety and the frustration that comes with following the market. And, he promises, a bit of a personal touch will help us survive the 2009 roller-coaster.
n Looking for ways to be a smarter shopper? Do you know a smarter way to save money? Check out our “Bargain Blogger” by Business Editor Jennifer Rich and other Herald employees.
The oldest blogs
n One of my favorite blogs is “Manatee’s Military Moms” by photojournalist Tiffany Tompkins-Condie. I’ve been “editing” this since Tiffany launched it in October 2007 to follow her son’s career as a Marine. Frankly, I volunteered to make sure I became a follower – and I’ve laughed or cried more than a few times. Tiffany’s blog has evolved into a broad collection of military musings from throughout the world.
n And there’s my “Editor’s Blog,” but I’m out of space here. Guess you’ll have to check it out at bradentonherald.blogspot.com.
Joan Krauter, the Herald’s executive editor, can also be reached at 941-748-0411, ext. 2000.